By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
In his latest movie, “Uncut Gems,”
Adam Sandler ditches the goofball comedy routine and delivers an impressive, hard-core turn as a slick, New York City jeweler and compulsive gambler.
This is Sandler’s most riveting performance since “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Reign Over Me.”
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (“Good Time”), “Uncut Gems” is set in 2012 in New York City’s Diamond District. It’s here that Howard Ratner (Sandler) has a popular jewelry store that’s frequented by regular folks but mostly high-end clientele; pro athletes like NBA star Kevin Garnett who loves that bling.
And when Howard’s right hand man, Demany (Lakeith Stanfield, “Knives Out”) convinces KG to come in and see a rare opal stone that Howard somehow managed to hide in a dead fish and smuggle from Ethiopia, Kevin accepts the invite.
Once Kevin sees the piece, he wants to hold on to it as a good luck charm for his upcoming game. He offers to give Howard his championship in return.
Talk about tit for tat. Howard is a gambler. So, his instincts kick in and he hocks the ring and bets on the game hoping to use his winnings to purchase the ring back.
Nothing quite goes the way Howard plans. Not only is Howard a bad gambler, but a terrible liar too.
His sleazy lifestyle has taken a toll on his wife, Dinah (Idina Menzel, “Frozen II”) ) who has had enough of him and his side chick Julia (Julia Fox, “PVT Chat”). The loan sharks are circling too because Howard owes them tons of money.
These goons are only going to wait so long before they make him pay one way or the other. The smartest thing Howard ever did was bullet proof his office glass doors and hire some intimidating guards out front to keep out the riffraff. However, trouble, still manages to find Howard at most every turn. The guy just never learns.
You know it’s just a matter of time before Howard runs out of luck. But the buildup to how it’s all going to come crashing down on Howard and watching him try to weasel his way out of every predicament, is what makes “Uncut Gems” such a polished and intriguing melodrama.
Check Out This Trailer For "UNCUT GEMS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.