Click: The Ultimate Lifeplanning Flick

When I was in high school, my friend Pat and I saw the Jim Belushi movie “Mr.. Destiny”. We both decided it was our favorite movie. It’s main character, Larry Burrows, blew a baseball game when he was a teen. That baseball game became the pivotal moment of his life, which set the stage for everything that followed. A car breakdown landed him in a bar where he is given the chance to see what his life would have been like if he’d hit that baseball and won the game. He marries the boss’s daughter and has children, but realizes that he liked his old life better.

I finally saw Click last night. I saw it at the library when I went to pick up “The 4 Hour Work Week” and decided it had been out long enough without me watching it. I wonder if there’s any coincidence that Jim Belushi and Adam Sandler are two of my favorite actors. I really enjoy their work. I see Adam Sandler is going to be in a Disney movie coming out soon. That’s about as big a shock as when Eddie Murphy starred in Dr. Doolittle and didn’t cuss the entire time. I heard Adam Sandler wants to be in a movie that his children can watch. I always wondered how he would explain Happy Gilmore to little children. Better than that, what’s he going to say when they find his “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!” CD? I still have that somewhere, by the way. I like the “Buffoon” clips for some reason.

In Click, Adam Sandler’s character, Michael Neuman, is an architect striving to reach the top. His boss, by the way, is played by David Hasselhoff. He often leaves his family out in the cold when it comes to his schedule. When he grows tired of an endless pile of remotes that do everything but turn the TV on, he goes in search of a Universal Remote Control. Passing up the big chain electronic stores, he settles on Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I always wondered what the Beyond part was all about. He lays down on a bed, and sees a door marked “Beyond”. Entering it, he goes down a dark hallway and meets a man named Morty, whom he asks where the universal remote controls are. Morty gives him one, claiming it’s so new that it doesn’t have a barcode yet. He explains that he’s giving it to Michael for free because “nice guys need a break”.

The remote “programs itself”. Michael quickly finds out that he can fast forward through arguments, sex, traffic, and eventually decides to fast forward to his promotion. Thinking it’s only a few months down the road, he learns that it’s a year later. By this point, the remote is self programmed, so it begins skipping all of these parts of his life automatically. Michael learns that when he fast forwards, his body remains on autopilot.He’s a good enough architect that his life on autopilot earns him tremendous success, but he sees his kids growing up without him. His dad dies during a fast forward, his son gets married, and his daughter never learns to “put a sweater on”. His wife also divorces him and marries Sean Astin, another of my favorite actors. Michael finds out at the end that by skipping through all of the boring and mundane parts of his life, he also missed everything meaningful as well.

Michael can go forward, but apparently he can only go back to see what he was there for. He wasn’t at his father’s funeral, so asks to go to the last moment that he saw him. As he was on autopilot, all he cared about was “email”. His life has a commentary, voiced by James Earl Jones. That would be so cool. James Earl Jones could narrate my life.

Michael finds out during one talk with Morty that because every time in his life that work and family conflict, work won. The remote simply adjusted itself to his preference.

In the end, he winds up back in the bed at Bad, Bath, and Beyond. Rather than go back in the door marked “Beyond”, he wakes up those close to him. Finding the remote on the counter with a note from Morty, he throws it in the trash.

For some reason, I’m tempted to describe Click as a modern day techno-fairy tale, where an object that appears to be a blessing turns into a curse. Top it off with a cast of actors that I’ve enjoyed since my own childhood and throughout my life (It’s got Michael Knight and Sam Gamgee!) and I think it’s a great movie with a highly relevant point. I really enjoyed Click. I think it also opens us a discussion into all kinds of life issues. No doubt, work is important. In the Bible, Paul wrote to Timothy and said in I Timothy 5:8 that anyone who doesn’t provide for his family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. We all have to work to provide for our families and pay bills in this world. But like anything else, work can get the better of us. We have to keep work in it’s proper perspective.

Click shows why it’s important to have values, and why it’s important to prioritize the things that we must do in our lives so that when a conflict occurs, what’s really most important can win. Since many of us are still in our 2009 planning phase, I think the lessons of Click provide a good review for our plans. I want my children to have the things I never did, but not at their expense. Actually, I think they’re better off than I was. We didn’t get cable till I was 15.

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