Comedian Adam Sandler’s controversial new, Netflix-exclusive movie has the full backing of the streaming service, according to the “Saturday Night Live” veteran himself.
“The Ridiculous Six,” a comedy western reboot of the classic “The Magnificent Seven,” made unflattering headlines earlier this year when several Native American actors walked of the set in disgust, citing offensive jokes and cultural stereotyping, including characters with names like “Wears No Bra” and “Beaver Breath,” and “an actress portraying an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe, and feathers inappropriately positioned on a teepee.”
“Right from the get-go, it didn’t feel right. But we it let it go,” Loren Anthony, a Navajo actor and one of the performers who walked off the set, told the Associated Press in April. “Once we found out more about the script, we felt it was totally disrespectful to elders and Native women. Before departing the production, an extra shot footage of Sandler in costume refusing to tweak the script.
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“The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of—but in on—the joke,” Netflix said in a statement at the time.
In a recent interview. Sandler told Variety that Netflix was “very supportive, [they] had my back the whole time.” In the same piece, the film’s director Frank Coraci claimed “The Ridiculous Six” is actually “pro-Native American” and Terry Crews, one of the film’s co-stars, said, “When they were commenting on this a couple months back there was not even a finished cut of the movie.”
“Anyone who says there’s controversy has not seen the film, that’s just the truth,” he added.
This is not the first time a Sandler film has been dinged for cultural insensitivity. He has been criticized for casting his old “SNL” cohort Rob Schneider as exaggerated ethnic characters in “The Waterboy,” “50 First Dates” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” His South Africa-based comedy “Blended” was accused of portraying native characters as “oversexed and leering, bumbling and inarticulate, or just bone lazy.” His 2011 film “Jack and Jill” features what Red Letter Media has called “the most passively racist scene in movie history.” A Mexican gardener named Felipe makes a series of off-color jokes about his own people, only to diffuse them with the punchline: “I’m kidding.” Later a Mexican grandmother is knocked out, only to be revived by the smell of jalapenos.
Naturally in comedy, sometimes political correctness goes out the window in search of a good laugh. Audiences will have to decide for themselves whether the “Grown Ups” star has gone too far this time. “The Ridiculous Six” debuts on Netflix on Dec. 11.