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Take Two 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & Click & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & C & lt;/span & lick is essentially Variations on a Wonderful Life. It's not all "Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan" and post-Depression, big-capitalism angst, but it is a modern fairy tale about the competing priorities of work and family and that age-old folly of equating wealth with familial bliss. As a total rehash of a dozen films, it's not half bad.

Michael Newman is the young star of his architectural firm, run by a megalomaniac named Mr. Ammer (David Hasselhoff). Michael's got an ultra-hot wife Donna [Kate Beckinsale] and two unbelievably darling kids (who almost make this reviewer's biological clock start ticking -- almost) whom he clearly adores, but he has a problem. It's a classic problem, perhaps the classic problem among male-dominated societies. Homeboy wants a) to be a part of his family and simultaneously b) provide for his family. We all know Hollywood believes that a) and b) are mutually exclusive, which sucks for Michael. See, he's convinced that making partner will bring greater happiness (as a result of greater wealth). But Michael, like George Bailey before him, is sadly mistaken; he will have to make a big decision, Hollywood fantasy-style.

Michael's home -- wood-paneled and aging, the furniture unassuming and lived-in -- represents the comfort of family. His office, down to his playboy boss, is plastic and glossy, representing the sins of the 21st-century flesh. He's not taken in by the clothes or the cars or the gorgeous, enormous-breasted assistants, but he is blinded by money and its false promises. There isn't enough time for both, so when he stumbles upon a universal remote that allows him to manipulate time, he has two alternatives: Either he could use it to stop time and get all his work done so that he can spend time with his kids, or he can fast-forward through fights and foreplay and tedious family dinners on a mad paper chase to make partner. Guess which he chooses. You guessed right, and you can also guess what happens from there. But of course, there's a downside to the remote that he was never told about, the consequences of which will -- we hope, fingers crossed -- cause him to understand the error of his ways.

Adam Sandler still can't emote anywhere but at the poles (sweet, soft-spoken, aw shucks-iness or violent rage). He still can't cry believably. He still gravitates to one-gag films. His one-gag films still have the same damn plots (man with fatal flaw experiences 90 minutes of trials and tribulations before seeing the light and changing his ways). He still can't help but cast himself alongside the world's hottest women.

So Click's the same ol' Sandler flick. And yet it isn't.

What separates it from the rest of the Sandler oeuvre is a solid supporting cast and Christopher Walken, who, as ever, steals the show. He plays Morty, the research and development technician for Bed, Bath & amp; Beyond's Way Beyond division; he's the one who hooks up Michael with the double-edged remote. Walken plays it with an over-eager verve that's hilarious and so friendly that it comes off as a bit sinister. (But then he's Christopher Walken, so everything he does is a little sinister.) The way Morty's attitude toward Michael changes over the course of Click builds the film's moral compass, but Walken does a good job -- given the nature of his character -- of using his menace to foreshadow the remote's downside while Michael still believes it's a silver bullet for his woes.

Funny, sweet and possessed of far more imagination than most comedies of this type, Click's one joke carries it surprisingly far.

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