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How Adam Sandler Really Feels About Critics Who Hate His Movies

Adam Sandler received some of the best reviews of his career for his performance in the 2019 film "Uncut Gems." In 2022, he received even more acclaim for his role in the Netflix film, "Hustle." As Sandler told Entertainment Weekly, "I knew this movie was a different feel for me, but it's kind of a combination of stuff I've done in the past and a newer version of who I am." 

This may be the "new" era of Sandler, but critics haven't always been that kind to the Sandman. While movies like "Happy Gilmore" and "The Wedding Singer" have gone on to become cult classics, "The Ridiculous 6" and "Jack and Jill" have Rotten Tomatoes scores that sit at 0% and 3%, respectively. Suffice it to say that Sandler hasn't always been critics' favorite.

In his review of the 2000 Sandler vehicle "Little Nicky," Roger Ebert said, "What I cannot understand is why [Sandler] has devoted his career to finding new kinds of obnoxious voices and the characters to go along with them." When discussing "The Ridiculous Six," The Wrap called the film "everything wrong with Hollywood for the past two decades." And that's just the tip of the iceberg — Sandler has been receiving notices like these for decades. At this point, Sandler must take some of that criticism to heart, right?

Adam Sandler admits the harsh reviews sometimes bother him

As Sandler admitted to AARP in 2022, the harsh critical reactions to his films "sometimes" sting, but he doesn't "get too shook up" about it. To explain, Sandler told a story about his father. "Something didn't go right for me. I bombed onstage or didn't get an audition. I was upset and probably embarrassed," he remembers. "And [my father] said, 'Adam, you can't always be happy. People aren't always going to like you. You're going to fail.' I said, 'But I just want to be happy, man.' ... He said, 'You won't actually know you're happy if you don't feel that other stuff.'"

This wasn't the first time that Sandler had addressed the criticism levied against his films, either. In 2000, while promoting "Little Nicky," Sandler told The Harvard Crimson that when he made "Billy Madison" he cared what the critics thought. "But now I realize I didn't get into this business to have a critic like me," Sandler said. "I got into it to get people to laugh."

Similarly, in a 2004 interview with IGN about "Spanglish," Sandler claimed that he didn't care much about reviews during the early stages of his career. "I never thought about what people would say about me," he said. "I was just a young guy who was excited to become a comedian and an actor and I just wanted to get to do what I got to do." When talking to The Independent in 2013, Sandler was even more blunt: "I could almost write the piece for them by now. But then [I] remember that I didn't get into movies to please the critics. I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends."