The Cobbler (Blu-ray Review)

CaptureThe Cobbler is the latest film from writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor, Win Win). It stars Adam Sandler as a shoemaker who acquires magical powers. Yes, that makes it sound like something fairly dim and fitting of Sandler’s more outlandish crop of films, but this is not a Happy Madison production. As a fan of McCarthy, I was hoping to find something worthwhile, given his previous films, but I was not quite sure what to expect. I missed the film in theaters and had only heard negative things. Now it is available on Blu-ray, where I was able to give The Cobbler a fair shake.





As stated, Sandler stars as a shoemaker who obtains magical powers. Essentially, an old family heirloom allows him to change his appearance and transform into any of his customers. In the tradition of any movie ever, this ability is fun at first, but soon becomes troublesome. As Max, Sandler eventually finds himself doing all he can to help out his neighborhood. This involves dealing with mobsters and stopping a real estate developer from taking over his neighborhood.

There is some promise early on and one true highlight in the film, which involves Max putting on a pair of his deceased father’s shoes in an effort to make a wish for his mother come true. With that said, the film’s biggest issue is how unexciting it is. It is not that The Cobbler made me pine for the raunchiness of a typical Sandler film, but I did find myself wondering how it could have been better.

As a filmmaker, McCarthy has directed films that serve as strong character studies that play up nuance within the confines or fairly straightforward dramatic premises. This is the furthest into broader territory he has gone as a director, but the results are still a mixed bag. The jokes are never all that funny. The drama feels out of place when matched against whatever we are supposed to understand as the film’s proper tone.

It is a shame, because we have a solid cast to work with. Ellen Barkin, Steve Buscemi, Dan Stevens, and Dustin Hoffman all make appearances. Hell, even Method Man does a decent job with what he is given. Clearly a lot of actors saw something in this story, as silly as it may sound, but it is a shame that the final product does not transcend a cursory assessment of what the film is about.

Yes, some interesting ideas are here and I do like seeing Sandler in roles where he actually tries, but The Cobbler has nothing to really serve as solid entertainment. The film is certainly not the disaster some have made it out to be, but there is still little to recommend.


the cobbler

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The Cobbler arrives on Blu-ray looking as good as a fresh shoeshine. The image is sharp and almost everything is well-defined.

Depth: You are presented with a well-rounded image, which allows for plenty of dimensionality to be seen.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and fair well. There is no sign of crushing and details remain clear in the dark scenes.

Color Reproduction: Colors are vibrant and nice for a film that is largely subdued in its presentation.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures register well. The level of detail is solid here, especially given how Sandler turns into a variety of people.

Noise/Artifacts: None.




Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: This track does a fine job of presenting a fairly simple film, despite its fantastical premise. The various audio elements all register clearly, with plenty of work done to all one to enjoy the work on the sound mix.

Low Frequency Extension: There are few moments where the LFE channel has something to do and they work.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a very dialogue heavy film and as a result, the audio remains pretty center channel focused. That said, the score and various sound effects make their presence on a track that is balanced well enough.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sounded loud and clear to me.




All we get is a long EPK, which is unfortunate.

Features Include:

  • The Making of The Cobbler (HD, 15:03) – A typical EPK that lasts a bit longer than normal, but does not feature nearly enough insight.
  • Trailers
  • DVD Copy of the Film



It would have been nice to see a solid Adam Sandler film that gave us that once-in-a-while look at what he can do outside of vacation with his buddies. That was apparently not in the cards for The Cobbler. I still look forward to what Tom McCarthy has to offer next, but this time out was not his strongest effort.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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