Sandler’s latest movie is uncut, but no gem

Hailey Griffin, Arts Editor

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In the Safdie brother’s most recent movie, “Uncut Gems,” Adam Sandler plays a high-strung, gambling-addicted, wealthy jeweler named Howard. The film takes place in New York; several scenes occur at Howard’s small jewelry shop in Manhattan’s Diamond District.

“Uncut Gems” begins as Howard makes his way through the crowded Manhattan streets, on the way to his shop. Boston Celtics star athlete Kevin Garnett and his entourage wait for Howard to arrive.

The ever-charismatic Howard showcases watches, necklaces, and other valuables to Garnett, who remains unenthused. It is not until Howards reveals his latest find, the rare Ethiopian black opal, that Garnett shows interest. Howard agrees to let Garnett borrow the opal for a few days in exchange for collateral (in this case, Garnett’s ring). From this moment onwards, Howard’s gambling nature reveals itself.

In a frenzy, Howard rushes to another jeweler to loan Garnett’s ring for a sum of money.

With the money he receives, Howard places a bet on the Boston Celtics game. Unfortunately for Howard, a group of men whom he owes money cancel his bet. This group of men follow Howard throughout the film, to keep tabs on him and make sure that they receive their dues. Despite constant supervision, Howard continues to place risky bets with borrowed money.

After several days of miscommunication, Garnett finally returns to Howard’s shop. He offers Howard $165,000 in exchange for the opal; of course, Howard accepts the offer.

Howard uses the money he receives from Garnett to place yet another bet on a Boston Celtics game; this time, the stakes are higher than ever before. Howard could profit more than a million dollars. Meanwhile, the group of men that follow Howard becomes infuriated with his persistent gambling.

“Uncut Gems” features several subplots. For instance, Howard has an ongoing affair with one of his assistants, Julia. He rents an apartment for her, and he visits her quite frequently.  Despite their continuous bickering, the two can’t stay apart for long.

Another subplot focuses on Howard and his family. Howard’s despicable behavior creates a rift between him, his wife, and his children. Howard’s wife, Dinah, knows about his affair; she despises Howard’s actions and wishes for a divorce. Because Howard is always distracted by his work, his gambles, or his affair, he neglects his parental obligations.

If you’re not into low-action films, then “Uncut Gems” is not for you.

The plot’s progression is slow-paced, and there is minimal set variation. Because of the many side plots, it is hard to identify the focus behind the entire story. The film’s soundtrack, which features several fast-paced songs, intermingles with argument scenes to create a tense atmosphere. It appears that the directors construct a chaotic atmosphere to compensate for the film’s lack of action and set variation.

Sandler’s role in Uncut Gems differs from his typical comedic nature. It’s refreshing to see Sandler in an unfamiliar role, although his overall performance is mediocre. Sandler projects the chaotic environment that encompasses Howard, yet he lacks depth. However, I suppose I can’t place all the blame on Sandler for his character’s lack of depth; of course, the screenplay influences his role.

Due to the Rotten Tomatoes ratings that I read and the praise I heard from others, I expected more from “Uncut Gems.” If you’re interested in “Uncut Gems,” I suggest you stream it at home. It isn’t worth the trip to the movie theater.