Like fine wine, Adam Sandler is getting better with age. Gone are the slapstick days of Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy. Now we get a darker, edgier Sandler willing to veer into strange corners of the human psyche. Have you seen his Netflix standup special? It’s unexpectedly wise and good.
Today the Safdie brothers shared the first trailer for Uncut Gems, their forthcoming “crime comedy” starring Sandler as a high-rolling jeweler in New York City’s diamond district. It’s gritty, wild, and looks like a classic in-the-making — which tracks, because Martin Scorsese is an executive producer. People are already saying it could nab Sandler an Oscar.
The plot revolves around Howard Ratner (Sandler), a slippery gems dealer scheming to sell a mined chunk of raw jewels for a fortune — if he can manage to have it safely shipped from Ethiopia inside a fish carcass. The rest of the cast is stacked: Lakeith Stanfield, former NBA player Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, and The Weeknd.
Uncut Gems is brothers Joshua and Benjamin Safdie’s follow-up to Good Time, their 2017 crime flick starring Robert Pattinson as a bank robber on the run with his developmentally disabled brother. The film was praised by critics and nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
The film does bring to mind another "crime comedy" released this year. Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria’s film about strippers who conned bankers out of a fortune during the 2008 financial crisis. Scafaria told reporters it was difficult getting her script to the screen. It was dropped by one studio and picked up by another with a far smaller budget. At one point, producers tried to convince Scorsese to direct the project before they’d consider hiring Scafaria to make her own film.
Still, early buzz about Uncut Gems has been positive. The film premiered at Telluride in late August and screened in Toronto in early September, and critics who’ve seen it have been gushing. Most folks will have to wait till December to see Uncut Gems, but we can hardly wait.