I think what critics hate about Adam Sandler is the reason why I myself like his work: he doesn’t give a damn about critics, all that matters to him is making you laugh.
In this, his first starring role, he plays Billy Madison, a moron who happens to be the son of a rich business man. Billy spends all day doing practically nothing with his buddies (among them is Norm Macdonald, hilariously dopey ). When his dad retires, the only way for Madison to inherit the family’s business is to prove he has some brains by going back to school… from 1st grade through graduation!
Okay, the plot is inane, but it’s the basis of a series of really funny scenes. Sandler’s character is even more childish than the kids! There’s little character development or depth, but that’s exactly what makes it so damn cool. Of all his pictures, this is Adam’s most Sandleresque flick. Instead of playing a character, he’s basically being himself and doing his stand-up schtick. What you get is wall-to-wall laughter, thanks to a bunch of dumb yet effective bits, goofs, cameos (Chris Farley, Steve Buscemi…), profanity, physical humor, even a musical number! But like most films of the kind, it wouldn’t work without a great comic performance from the lead and well, Sandler does just that. And since he also wrote the film, that makes it the perfect vehicle for him.