The Cobbler (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Thomas McCarthy|
|Produced by||Mary Jane Skalski|
|Cinematography||W. Mott Hupfel III|
|Edited by||Tom McArdle|
|Distributed by||Image Entertainment|
The Cobbler is a 2014 American magic realism comedy-drama film directed by Thomas McCarthy and co-written with Paul Sado. The film stars Adam Sandler, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman and Steve Buscemi. It was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released on March 13, 2015, by Image Entertainment.
In the Lower East Side of New York City in 1903, a group of Jewish men are gathered in the shop of a cobbler to discuss a problem that has been plaguing them. A crook named Gergerman has been running their businesses out and harassing the men and their families. The men hand over a pair of Gergerman's shoes to the cobbler, Pinchas Simkin. Pinchas takes the shoes to the basement of his shop and uses a special stitching machine to work on the shoes. His young son Herschel enters, and Pinchas explains to him the importance of the machine.
In the present day, Max Simkin works as the cobbler in the shop. His work neighbor is Jimmy, who operates the barber shop next door. A young woman named Carmen Herrera comes in to tell Max that she is working with the community of the Lower East Side to prevent big time developers from tearing down parts of the neighborhood to build huge complex buildings. Max doesn't seem to care at all what happens to the shop. Max lives at home with his ailing mother Sarah. The two of them wish they could see Max's father one more time.
A local thug named Leon Ludlow goes into the shop for Max to replace the soles in his shoes. Max's current stitching machine fails, so he uses the one that his ancestors used. Out of curiosity, he checks Ludlow's shoe size to see that he wears a size 10 1/2 like Max. Max tries the shoes on, and to his surprise, he literally becomes Ludlow. He grabs other shoes and uses the machine on it, realizing what he can do with this.
Max uses this newfound ability to take people's shoes and live as someone else. He goes to Chinatown as a Chinese man to enjoy the day. He then goes to a restaurant as another man and leaves without paying for his meal. He also takes the shoes of a British man named Emiliano after his girlfriend Taryn brought them in. As Emiliano, Max goes to a bar and is noticed by beautiful women. One woman approaches him and notes that she saw him somewhere leaving with a man. Max then finds out where Emiliano lives and sees Taryn taking a shower. She invites him to join her. He eagerly starts to take off his clothes until he realizes that once he takes off even one shoe, he will no longer be Emiliano, so he leaves. Max decides to make his mother happy by using the shoes that belonged to his father Abraham. He has dinner with Sarah as Abraham and gives her one more night of happiness.
The next morning, Max finds that Sarah has passed away. He and his family sit Shiva for the week. When he returns to work, Ludlow demands that he get his shoes back or he'll kill Max. Max gets multiple shoes and follows Ludlow in disguise back to his apartment. Using Ludlow's shoes, he meets Ludlow's girlfriend Macy, who has apparently been abused by Ludlow. Max goes into Ludlow's room to find his watches, and ends up uncovering a cache of guns and other weapons. The real Ludlow returns and starts to choke out Max (still wearing Ludlow's shoes) until Max zaps him with a taser. Max joins two thugs that think he is Ludlow to an area where they are holding a man captive for stealing from them. They are about to kill him on Ludlow's orders until Ludlow-Max tells them to let the guy go. Furthermore, Max is taken to the home of a slum lord named Elaine Greenawalt. She gives Ludlow-Max a large amount of money to buy out a man from his building.
Max goes back to Ludlow's home wearing the stilettos of a cross-dressing man. Ludlow attacks him again until Max removes a shoe, startling Ludlow when he sees Max. He tries to attack Max again until Max sticks the other stiletto in Ludlow's neck, killing him. Max turns himself into the police, but when they return to the apartment, Ludlow's body is gone, and the blood is cleaned up. The police leave Max alone and confused. Jimmy confronts Max about his recent odd behavior. He tells Max that his father did the same thing before he disappeared, and that he kept this a secret from Max to protect him.
Max joins with Carmen to the apartment of Mr. Solomon, the man that Greenawalt is trying to buy out. He refuses to leave, as he has lived there for decades and even raised his daughter there. Max comes up with a plan to trick Greenawalt into giving him a large amount of money while still letting Solomon keep his home. When Greenawalt realizes she's been played, she goes to Solomon's home and threatens him with murder. She is caught on camera by a local news reporter, and she is later arrested. Max's life starts to go back to normal. Carmen goes into the shop and invites him out to dinner, which Max accepts. He later goes to Ludlow's home as Ludlow to return the watches to Macy, and he tells her that he's sorry and that she deserves better. As he leaves, he is abducted by a group of men led by the same man that stole from Ludlow's gang. They are about to drive off when their car is struck.
Max wakes up in Jimmy's barber shop. Jimmy offers him some water and a pickle, stating that pickles help with the transition from one body to another. Max asks how he knew about that. Jimmy takes off his shoes to reveal that he was Abraham the whole time. Both elated and angry, Max hugs his dad. Abraham brings him to the basement to show him a huge collection of shoes that he's gathered over the years. Abraham then takes Max to his limo and rides with him through the city as he starts to tell him the story of how the stitching machine came into their family's possession.
- Adam Sandler as Max Simkin
- Dan Stevens as Dance-club disc jockey
- Dustin Hoffman as Abraham Simkin
- Steve Buscemi as Jimmy
- Melonie Diaz as Carmen Herrara
- Ellen Barkin as Elaine Greenawalt
- Method Man as Ludlow
- Sondra James as Anna Stevens
- Dascha Polanco as Macy
- Lynn Cohen as Sarah Simkin
On September 19, 2013, Adam Sandler was in talks to join Thomas McCarthy's The Cobbler, which began shooting in November 2013. Voltage Pictures fully financed the film and it was produced by Mary Jane Skalski. On November 12, 2013 Dan Stevens joined the cast. Dustin Hoffman and Steve Buscemi also joined cast during shooting on November 18, 2013. Other cast members include Melonie Diaz, Method Man, Sondra James, Kevin Breznahan, Greta Lee and Craig Walker. On September 9, 2014, Image Entertainment acquired the US distribution rights to the film for $3.5 million.
Release and reception
The Cobbler was released in theaters on March 13, 2015, and since its release, it has been reported to be the biggest box-office flop of Adam Sandler's career - only $824,000 at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend.
The Cobbler has been panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 9%, based on 44 reviews, with a rating of 3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Cobbler represents a slight step up from Adam Sandler's recent comedies, but while its cloying sentiment proves a more palatable substitute for his usual crass humor, it still isn't terribly compelling." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 22 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Uri Klein of Haaretz pointed out that while The Cobbler is "one of the few times in Sandler’s career in which he has chosen to work for a director with a certain pedigree", and "the plot has fantastical impersonation elements that links it to comedians of an earlier era, such as Jerry Lewis and Danny Kaye", the result is unsatisfying in terms of both plot and characters.
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