We all know the Adam Sandler formula by now. It doesn’t matter if he’s returning to school, becoming a golfer, singing at weddings, playing football, taking care of a brat, trying to save Satan, learning to play the harmonium, fending off opportunists after his fortune, dealing with an insane anger management instructor, dating an amnesiac or whatnot. In every case, it comes down to a man-child who gets abused by various people around him and by life in general, periodically blows a gasket, but eventually succeeds and gets the girl.

“Click” doesn’t quite fit in there. Oh, Sandler’s still playing an immature dude prone to rage fits but, like in Spanglish, he already got not only the girl but children when the movie starts. And even though it’s much sillier than James L. Brooks’ film, it can also be as much if not more sentimental. You see, while the comedic gimmick of getting your hand on a universal remote control that actually controls the universe is played for a lot of laughs, it ultimately leads to a life-lessons fantasy in line with “A Christmas Carol” or It’s a Wonderful Life, no shit. There’s worth in the message that’s conveyed, about the danger of “fast-forwarding” through your life, how family should come first, etc. It’s just a tad surprising coming in the midst of kicks in the crotch, farts in the face and a big yellow plush duck endlessly being humped by the family dog!

Sandler isn’t really stretching (even his tearful scenes are more funny than anything) and Kate Beckinsale is little more than eye candy (gorgeous, yummy, “rockin’ body” eye candy), but they’re surrounded by many reliable supporting players: has been TV stars Henry Winkler and David Hasselhoff, SNL‘s Rachel Dratch (“Can I go to the bathroom?”), Sean Astin in a red speedo, Jennifer Coolidge going all-out bimbo and a more kooky than ever Christopher Walken. Curiously though, none of the usual Happy Madison “benchwarmers” (Schneider, Covert, etc.) shows up…

“Click” is breezily directed by Frank Coraci, who also helmed Sandler’s 1998 one-two punch of The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, with bright visuals, nifty special effects, Rick Baker make-up (for the fat and old scenes) and a soundtrack full of ’80s goodies (plus the Cranberries’ great Linger). It makes for a movie that doesn’t reinvent anything (you can guess the twist ending in the first act) but that’s certainly a lot of fun. No need to fast-forward though this one.