These Shoes Were Made For Walking: A Review of ‘The Cobbler’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 15, 2015
These Shoes Were Made For Walking: A Review of ‘The Cobbler’

Did you ever want to walk a mile in another person’s shoes?  What if you could in ways couldn’t even imagine?  The Cobbler is one of those movies that is a little trippy, often goofy and a little messy despite some very earnest intentions as the first half of it plays exceptionally well before it descends into some messy territory.

It’s been four generations for the Simkin family in the Cobbler business and Max Simkin (Adam Sandler) can’t help but feel like he is stuck in a rut.  Disenchanted by the grind of his day to day life, Max is spiraling out of control in a life that he just not that interested in living.  That is until one day, he stumbles upon a mystical heirloom in the basement of his shoe shop that allows him to do what he is yearning to do, be someone else and see the world through their eyes because walking in another man’s shoes in the only way to discover your true self and who you really are.

Not without some inherent charm, The Cobbler has moments that work exceptionally well but others that drift into some fairly non-sensical and wacky territory which cause it all to go off the rails just a little bit.

Co-Written & Directed by Thomas McCarthy who is taking a clear departure from some of his other works to dive into a type of fantasy fairy tale actually manages to keep most of the happenings in this film on the straight and narrow.  That is until he clearly doesn’t care and adds way too many unnecessary elements of our hero getting involved with gangsters and thugs.  The narrative flows quite well and it is more of a ‘sad sack’ kind of funny then a laugh out but as we see our hero get into all kinds of different situations, it gets more screwy and awkward then funny as he desires to be someone else end up going a little too far.  The core is solid and it is there, but it makes some broad leaps that it can’t recover from and handcuffs the ensemble cast from doing any real work because it tries too damn hard to be weird.

Adam Sandler The Cobbler

Adam Sandler has the chops to carry the line between funny and emotional, but doesn’t get to do enough of either.   The rest of the ensemble features the likes of Steve Buscemi, Ellen Barkin, Method Man, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman and Melonie Diaz but it jumps from a funny yet emotional story of self discovery to a gonzo morality tale of doing the right thing in order to save the neighborhood so often that none of the ensemble really know how to play it and they are just sitting on the edges as Sandler does his thing and interacts with all of them.

As much as anybody, I can appreciate the need to go and do something different, but The Cobbler just tries a little too hard to be goofy and different as it overloaded the story with plot points it doesn’t need.  An ultimately cute, but messy affair that will have you scratching your head at why you enjoyed it, it’s just too weird in the wrong ways to be memorable with an ending that is so ridiculous that plays like it is a super hero origin story.

The Cobbler is playing in limited theatres and is available on VOD.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.

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