The Cobbler | Film review - Magic shoes prove an imperfect fit for Adam Sandler

The Cobbler Adam Sandler.jpg
(Image credit: Macall Polay)

Adam Sandler’s mopey New York cobbler puts a spring in his step by quite literally walking in another man’s shoes in fantasy comedy-drama The Cobbler.

Thanks to a whimsical stroke of magic, every time he dons footwear he has repaired on an old stitching machine in the basement of his Lower East Side store he is instantly transformed into the exact double of the shoes’ owners. Initially using this gift for trivial and selfish ends, he gets caught up in the middle of a criminal real-estate racket when he tries to do some good.

The Cobbler Adam Sandler red shoes.jpg

(Image credit: Macall Polay)

This quirky magic-realist conceit has great potential, but co-writer/director Tom McCarthy fails to bring it to a shine. Sandler is less irritating than usual, but he isn’t that funny, either, and his transformations frequently land the film in dodgy territory.

Putting on the shoes of his absent dad (Dustin Hoffman) is one thing, but having his character impersonate a black thug (played by Cliff ‘Method Man’ Smith) isn’t a wise fit, while the scene in which he pretends to be his good-looking DJ neighbour (Dan Stevens) and cops a peep of his girlfriend in the shower is downright sleazy.

Certificate 12. Runtime 98 mins. Director Tom McCarthy

The Cobbler is available on download and is released on DVD and On-demand on 4th January 2016 from Entertainment One.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.