The new Adam Sandler film, “The Cobbler,” doesn’t have any gross-out jokes, scantily clad women or silly voices.
What it does have is a subdued Sandler and a message railing against the destruction of old New York City.
“I just feel like developers are the scourge of society,” says Tom McCarthy, co-writer and director of “The Cobbler.” “I just can’t say it enough. Every neighborhood I lived in, I see horrible towers going up. I’m just like one of those people that it ignites.”
Sandler plays Max Simkin, a fourth-generation cobbler — a person who repairs shoes. When he uses an old shoe repair machine, it gives him the ability to become the shoe’s owner when he puts on the footwear.
Simkin’s cobbler shop is the kind OF BUSINESS that McCarthy sees disappearing along with these neighborhoods.
“[It] pisses me off because all I see is people getting rich without a care or worry of who it affects,” McCarthy says. “Especially in a city where you have all these lovely little neighborhoods that are just gone or are disappearing. Paul [Seda, who co-wrote the film] and I felt we had a chance to say something with the movie — granted with a grain-of-salt, fun way. But we felt it was relevant and we felt it was a problem that New Yorkers have been dealing with for years and years.”
When scouting for areas where Max might live, McCarthy went to Southern Brooklyn.
“I was out in Coney Island, that area, walking through neighborhoods that Max might be from,” he says. “I think I was also out buying a TV set, weirdly enough. I went into this place; it was a totally sketchy electronics place that someone had told me about out there. And the guys were awesome in there, a bunch of Russian Jewish guys in sweatsuits, and honestly, three of them looked like Adam Sandler.”