Luckily, The Week Of is a movie that keenly understands the limits of the Sandler persona. Veteran comedy writer Robert Smigel, known for SNL's darkly clever TV Funhouse and his casually brilliant Triumph the Insult Comic Dog specials, directs a script he co-wrote with Sandler, and he brings a shaggy, low-key energy to familiar sitcom material. No one will mistake this for a high-gloss, auteur-driven Sandler project. (You'll have to wait for the Safdie Brothers' recently announced Uncut Gems for that.) But Smigel mostly strips away the wanton cruelty, priggish mean streak, and unnecessary celebrity cameos that plagues the worst Sandler movies. What's left instead? Goofy camaraderie between the two leads and a mood of slow-burn comedic anxiety about the claustrophobia of family life. Plus, a deep roster of game supporting performers, including Sandler-regulars Steve Buscemi and Rachel Dratch, who can sell some of the movie's sillier concepts.
The plot of The Week Of could not be simpler: Kenny Lustig (Sandler), a middle-class Long Island schlub, insists on paying for the wedding of his beloved daughter Sarah (Allison Strong), who is marrying the son of rich Los Angeles surgeon Kirby (Rock). Kenny is the put-upon, weak-willed family man who also gets in rage-filled (and very Sandler-ey) screaming matches with his insomniac wife (Dratch); Kirby is the divorced, status-obsessed high-achiever who can't make time for his own children. Kenny won't take Kirby's money. Kirby won't accept Kenny's friendship. As the title suggests, the movie follows the events of each day leading up to the wedding. There's no additional wrinkle to the formula. That's it.
The closest thing the movie has to a "conflict" is that the tacky hotel where the event will take place keeps springing new leaks, so Kenny tricks the town's mayor into letting them throw a party honoring his amputee uncle at City Hall, where they will secretly hold the wedding. Eventually, this plan gets abandoned and Kenny's family ends up infesting City Hall with bats they catch under the overpass. Buscemi covers the chimney of the building with his body so the bats don't escape. This has very little to do with the story or themes, but feels worth noting. It made me laugh.