The Ridiculous 6 is the completion of Adam Sandler’s 2015 trifecta of comedies that included The Cobbler and Pixels. This one, an original production for Netflix, unites Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and his vast arsenal of regulars costars in this over-the-top western spoof that is, unsurprisingly, not that great. A cavalcade of cameos include David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Whitney Cummings, Harvey Keitel, Dan Patrick and many, many others. The film’s excessive two-hour running time seems to exist only to allow sufficient screen time for Sandler’s buddies in this heavily billed farce.
Raised by Native Americans, Tommy Stockburn, AKA White Knife (Sandler) was saved by a Native American tribe after his mother was shot by a shadowy figure when Tommy was just a child. His father, notorious bank robber and irresponsible philanderer Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte), suddenly makes an appearance. He admits he is, in fact, White Knife’s biological father. Sporting long hair and proficiently adept with the blade, Tommy has more than assimilated to his tribe and is engaged to marry Smoking Fox (Julia Jones).
However, this father-son reunion is cut short when Frank is taken away by an old acquaintance, Cicero (Danny Trejo), in search of $50K, in which Frank pilfered form him during a past heist. Only just meeting his pops, White Knife, able to pose as a white man (because, well, he is one), navigates through the wild west in order to save his father.
Unbeknownst to Tommy, now donning a short hair-do, in order to draw little attention, he meets an unlikely group of renegades: Ramon (Rob Schneider), Lil’ Pete (Taylor Lautner), Herm (Jorge Garcia), Chico (Terry Crews), and Danny (Luke Wilson) – all whom, as it happens, are brothers of White Knife. It turns out that Frank was no stranger to women, and had more than his fair share of tumbles in the hay with ladies of varying skin complexions and backgrounds; for his faults, Frank certainly didn’t hold any prejudices.
White Knife’s journey allows him to bond with his eclectic brothers as they traverse the treacherous west, and try to amass the $50K that their father lied about to Cicero, claiming it was buried by a place called the “Singing Windmill.” Apart from collecting the large sum of cash, the Ridiculous 6 must also deal with the threat of Will Patch’s (Will Forte) gang, known for each member’s missing right-eyeball. One gross gag has the intolerant Clem (Steve Zahn) scooping out his only good eye (the left) to quality to become a member. Somehow, this motley crew still manages to kidnap Tommy’s fiancee.
Let’s just say it: The Ridiculous 6 is pretty bad. The film is basically a series of barely cohesive vignettes, and while this isn’t Sandler’s worst movie, which is not saying much, the film is very unimpressive. Sandler takes the role of the mostly unfunny straight man, leaving his supporting cast to parade around in unrestrained tomfoolery. A lack of story and imagination, coupled very few genuinely funny moments, makes for a slow beating of the horse to the finish line. To be fair, these brief moments, seldom and few, includes a macabre payoff when the brothers attempt to steal massive golden nugget from Smiley Harris (Harvey Keitel) in a scene that is gleefully over-the-top and amusing.
Another has Vanilla Ice – yes, Vanilla Ice – as Mark Twain, speaking and gesticulating in modern jargon. Ice overacts, yes, but is effective nonetheless in an anachronistic presentation as one of the few historical cameos that works. Other than these meager moments, the film is obsessed with its who’s-who cast, that very little story actually takes place, desperately throwing any and everything they can at audiences to make them laugh. Controversies about apparent racism and misogyny aside, the most offensive thing here is that the jokes simply aren’t funny.
But all the cameos in the world (and they certainly try to achieve this) couldn’t save The Ridiculous 6 from this collection of wild antics, simply because the comedy is so base and lacking in imagination. It aims low, going for obvious shtick and slapstick, but one shouldn’t expect much from Sandler or any film that has the word “ridiculous” right there in its title. The filmmakers certainly go to incredible lengths to stretch its ludicrous premise past the breaking point, suffering the consequences when the tension and elasticity of comedy comes smacking back like a rubber band.