Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The title of Adam Sandler‘s next film will be Ridiculous 6, and it’s a comedy Western that Paramount Pictures has committed to put into production in April. This is the laffer that Sandler was going to make at Sony before Happy Madison Productions moved it to Paramount. The title is reminiscent of the 1960 United Artists pic The Magnificent Seven that starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, the drama about seven gunfighters drafted to protect a Mexican town, so might this be a variation featuring inept gunslingers? The studio would not go beyond confirming the title and the terrain.

Sandler is going to write it with Tim Herlihy, and he will star in it and produce with Happy Madison. The film is already slated for Spring Break weekend 2014. Reports are attributing the move from Sony as being caused by that studio’s fiscal shortcomings — is Sony saving up for an expected summer 2013 start date on the Ghostbusters sequel, I’m wondering — but I think Sandler needs a timeout from that studio anyway. Herlihy and Sandler go back to his early, better stuff, before they’d completely shaken off the irreverence from their Saturday Night Live days together. Their collaborations include Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, and Herlihy has been involved in producing capacities on some of the more recent films, some of which have felt like the cast has a better time together than the audience is having as they watch.

I keep hoping that Sandler will rise to the occasion with another Wedding Singer, and I think he might be shaken out of his comfort zone by the misfires Jack And Jill and That’s My Boy. But most of his films still make money, with the animated Hotel Transylvania grossing $188 million worldwide so far. I go back with Sandler as far as his Saturday Night Live days, and his off-the-wall characters that included the Herlihy Boy, Opera Man and Cajun Man. I’d love to see him get back to that level of unpredictability again. Here is a reminder: