I honestly don’t understand the general disenchantment towards this movie that’s felt by seemingly the majority of critics and moviegoers alike. What I see is a very decent family film, a movie with a solid point that’s carried across in a way that’s neither shoved down our throats nor is too subtle as to let it slip away; a movie with good humor, and overall a film that is just a joy to watch every now and then, especially during family movie nights or such. This isn’t sophisticated comedy; it doesn’t try to be, either. It’s simply good honest fun mixed with a touching, heartfelt story and honest values. I liked it, my friends and family liked it; why don’t more enjoy the feel-good flick that is Click? Not that I’m complaining; it just seems odd.
We start out with Michael Newman, a young but brilliant architect who’s constantly torn between his work and his family. Not the most original of dilemmas, I know, but the film goes about it in a way that does make you interested and care in it. His family includes his wife, Donna (Kate Beckinsale), who couldn’t be hotter if she’d come out of an oven, and little Samantha and Ben, probably the two sweetest kids you’ll see for a while. Michael does greatly care for them and wishes nothing more than for them to be happy – other perhaps than to become a partner at his architecture firm.
Eventually he gets tired enough of fooling around with their various remote controls (opening the garage door, turning on ceiling fans and even cleaving his scalp open while activating a remote toy helicopter) and decides to get a universal remote: “one clicker controls everything”, to make his life “a little more simple”. He heads to Bed, Bath and Beyond (only because they’re the only store still open at the time), and in the “Beyond” section he finds an odd fellow named Morty (at which point my etymological senses began to tingle), played by the exceedingly-appropriate Christopher Walken.
Morty gives Michael a brand-new remote (so new, it’s not even listed yet) free of charge, yet with one condition – it’s non-returnable. “Why would I wanna return something I got for free?” asks Michael. Trust me, you’ll find out soon enough.
It turns out that this is no ordinary remote. It literally controls his universe: pausing the time, fast-forwarding or rewinding to moments of his choice, picture-in-picture, his complete life menu (featuring a commentary by – who else? – James Earl Jones), the Making Of (you can guess what that implies), along with all the usuals (volume control, language controls, hue, aspect ratio, etc.).
However, the fun and games, while providing for some fairly hilarious moments in themselves, soon turn much starker when Michael realizes the remote soon programs itself based on his actions, and before long he ends up fast-forwarding through any sickness, traffic, showering, sexual foreplay, family dinners, etc. that the future holds for him. One disastrous lack of temper has him skipping through an entire promotion, which lands him a full year in to the future. Now his marriage is failing, his kids are growing apart from him, and the beloved family dog (Sundance) has died. And trust me when I say, it quickly gets a whole lot worse, and Michael desperately regrets ever coming across this bittersweet remote.
There are some fairly Adam Sandler-esque moments of bodily comedy that might not apply to everyone’s tastes, such as playing with a grotesque flab of skin left over from a recent liposuction, to farting in his boss’ face (while the scene is paused, of course), and – of course – numerous kicks to the balls. Yet they seem to work, on a restrained-toilet-humor sort of level.
However, the film is much deeper in dramatic waters than comedic ones; there are several moments of touching emotionality, such as a heartbreaking goodbye to his father, or the final scene when Michael desperately tries to teach his son that one rule he’s learned above all: Family Comes First. This is what makes it such a good family film in my opinion: a fair balance between laugh-out-loud inanity, and true feeling. Few movies these days deliver both, and even fewer deliver them as well as Click does.
I must comment on the film’s musical score. It’s beautiful. Not only are the miscellaneous pop and rock songs pleasantly appropriate for the film’s tones and themes (including one of my favorites from U2), but the original score, from the barely-known Rupert Gregson-Williams, displays a curious mix of quirkiness, excitement, and deep emotion that make up the film’s various feelings. I’m particularly entranced by one particular piece, which plays during the climax with an aging Michael laying helpless on a road in torrential rains. So resounding.
Overall, this is a fantastic film for all kinds of families to enjoy, especially when there’s nothing else to do; give it a try, and I bet you won’t be disappointed. It doesn’t try to be a masterpiece, but a simple family film to entertain, to touch, and to make one think.