Hoffman, Stiller and Sandler seek highbrow laughs

Sandler receives high praise at elite film festival

Eric Gaillard—X00102
Ben Stiller

CANNES, France — Ben Stiller once again
plays Dustin Hoffman’s son, this time alongside Adam Sandler, in
an intellectual comedy that Hoffman hopes audiences will find
funny rather than just “interesting.””The Meyerowitz Stories,” which screened at Cannes on
Sunday, is written and directed by Noah Baumbach, whose
dialog-heavy New York movies are often compared to mid-career
Woody Allen. This is no “Meet the Fockers.”About the fractured relations between Hoffman’s four-times
married almost-famous sculptor and his offspring, “Meyerowitz”
is a long way from the knockabout comedies that Sandler and
Stiller are best known for.”I just think it’s cool to hear ‘Happy Gilmore’ mentioned at
Cannes,” Stiller said after the lowbrow 1996 golfing comedy in
which he co-starred with Sandler was mentioned at the festival
news conference.Hoffman, who soared to fame in “The Graduate” in 1967, said
he resented people telling him they grew up with his movies, and
although reluctant to play the aging Meyerowitz, was delighted
to be directed by Baumbach.”We would work for him for nothing,” he said, to which Emma
Thompson, who plays his wife, retorted: “We did work for him for
nothing!”When a journalist prefaced her question by congratulating
the filmmakers on an “interesting” film, Hoffman chipped in:
“That’s not a good word … you really didn’t like it!”But the movie got plenty of laughs at the press screening
and the first reviews were good.”A Great Adam Sandler Performance Makes ‘The Meyerowitz
Stories’ One of Noah Baumbach’s Best,” said IndieWire.The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it “terrifically
pleasurable and entertaining — film-making qualities that look
easy but aren’t — and there is real charm, delicacy and warmth.”A Netflix film, one of two in competition at Cannes,
“Meyerowitz” will not get a full cinema release, a source of
controversy at the film festival where jury head Pedro Almodovar
said he did not think a film not shown on the big screen should
get a Palme d’Or.Stiller was unfazed: “He said that about ‘Happy Gilmore’!”Baumbach, who said he made “Meyerowitz” to be shown in
cinemas, joked that the movie would be screened in Hoffman’s
living room, which, the actor said, had “a very big screen.”