Warning: POTENTIAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
For every blunder that is Jack & Jill and That’s My Boy, Adam Sandler repays us with a great movie like Punch-Drunk Love and 2019’s Uncut Gems. Sandler’s portrayal of jeweler and gambling addict Howard Ratner was one of the best performances from 2019, and was snubbed horribly by the Academy.
Written by Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, and Benny Safdie and directed by the Safdies, Uncut Gems takes place in 2012 when Ratner gets his hands on a rare black opal that catches the eye of Boston Celtics player Kevin Garnett. The film then follows the next few days as Ratner tries to repay many of his debts while also trying to cash in on making big money off the opal as well as betting on Garnett’s playing.
What Uncut Gems truly shows is that given the right script, Sandler is a very capable and talented actor. The way he gives Ratner a neurotic, but charming sensibility is something that only Sandler could pull off in this film. His supporting cast including Idina Menzel as his fed up wife Dinah, Eric Bogosian playing his bookie brother in law, and Julia Fox in her debut role as Ratner’s employee and mistress all shine as well in this film. Every cast member was able to shine in the film, with no main character feeling two dimensional.
The most surprising thing about Uncut Gems isn’t Sandler’s performance, but rather that of Kevin Garnett. There have been good athletes turned actors like Carl Weathers and bad ones like Lebron James, but Garnett was stellar playing a fictionalized version of himself. He blended right in with the rest of the actors in the film and you almost think that he is being played by a seasoned actor.
Also, be on the lookout for some fun cameos in the film including The Weeknd and John Amos, as well as minor roles played by television icon Judd Hirsch and Marvel star Pom Klementieff.
While Adam Sandler isn’t the box office draw he was five or ten years ago, he has surprised movie fans with a few good dramatic films like The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) in 2017 and Uncut Gems in 2019. Who knows if this will continue to be a trend or if he will go back to making films like The Ridiculous 6. But with the acclaim he has been getting the last few years, maybe this is the start of a new trend and maybe we will see Sandler finally get an Oscar nomination in 2021 or 2022.
Final Grade: 9.0/10