Films my father loves: ‘Click’-ing through the past

Oct. 27, 2022, 8:08 p.m.

Welcome to “Films My Father Loves.” One of the first things I expressed passion for as a teenager was movies, and the second I showed it, my dad latched onto it as a way to connect to me. Now, I try to connect with him over the movies that stuck with him and influenced how he raised me.

When I was four, I made my dad promise to bring me Wendy’s chicken nuggets on his way back from work. He exhausted himself back then with long hours peddling life insurance, and I wouldn’t sleep until he got back home. On that chicken nugget day, he pulled up at 11:45 p.m. without them and saw me impatiently sitting up on the couch through the window. He then sighed, went back in his car and arrived 30 minutes later with the Wendy’s in hand. I took one nugget from the bag and fell asleep before I could even take a single bite.

I thought about that night while watching “Click.”

“Click” is Adam Sandler’s 2006 comedy about a man named Michael Newman who is given a magical remote that can replay, pause and skip through his life. Early in the film, he drives by a Wendy’s late at night on his way to buy a universal remote. He walks into the “Beyond” section of Bed Bath & Beyond where a kind angel gives him the all-powerful item because “sometimes good guys deserve a break.”

Except Newman is one of the worst people I’ve ever seen on screen. He’s selfish, angry and spiteful. He constantly argues with his wife and gets tired of his parents. When the anguish of work becomes too much for him, he lashes out and calls his 8 year olds stupid. He is given basically unlimited power and the first use he can think of is muting his wife when she tells him that he is rude to her friend. He skips through entire meals with his family because he just doesn’t want to deal with them and eventually starts skipping months at a time, all so he can just get his promotion at his architecture firm.

The jokes (the ones that land, anyways) are few and far between. I’ll be honest and admit that I did laugh out loud when Newman mentioned Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum because I literally haven’t heard that name since elementary school. That was then followed by the typical Sandler material: fart jokes, race jokes, bullying kids, etc. As I rewatched “Click,” I started wondering why my dad thought of this movie so fondly, but then the drama came in.

Eventually, the remote starts fast-forwarding on its own, its AI recognizing the parts of life Newman typically zooms past. Traffic? Skip. Fight? Skip. Promotion? Skip to the end. Soon, years and then decades of life are whizzing past him in a flash before he realizes all that he’s missing out on. For a film so objectively stupid in its humor, it gripped me emotionally. At this point the jokes slow down and I filled with dread — imagine living your entire life in a few days and hating what you’ve made of it.

“Click” is a deeply effective film when taken as a cautionary tale and not the comedy it’s advertised as. I teared up when Newman realized how much he was valuing the wrong things in life and how work would never mean more than family. I know my dad did too when he saw the movie. He eventually left that life insurance job when he realized he was missing out on life. For some reason, I assumed it was because of the movie and the Wendy’s but when I called him up he said it wasn’t just that. 

On one of his free weekends during his insurance days, he took me to the park with my bike and told me to go around and have a good time. I then stared at him and told him I couldn’t. He didn’t understand, especially since I’d been going to the park every weekend with my grandpa. But I told him I never learned how to actually ride it, so grandpa and I would just walk around with it and kick a ball here and there. 

My dad has never called me stupid and I don’t remember him ever lashing out at me when he was stressed, but at one point he was Michael Newman. He was gone, and when he was around he wasn’t truly there. He worked for the sake of his family but forsook his family at the same time. I’m terrified to imagine what my life would be like if he had never changed, never saw me in the window at midnight, never stood with me sadly in the park and never watched this stupid Adam Sandler movie. I’m just incredibly grateful he did.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

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