Adam Sandler, Web Idiot Savant
Raw straightforwardness is a good fit for the Net

While fan sites, chat rooms, and email may not be a movie star's bread and butter, they're certainly useful tools in generating buzz for an upcoming release. This is especially true in the case of comedian Adam Sandler, whose fart and penis jokes appeal most to fully wired teens, preteens, and post-adolescent office drones.

See also...
... by Jenn Shreve
... in the Dirt section
... from September 14, 1999

And Sandler's own Web site is a predictably slick publicity vehicle for his work -- with just enough new photos, sound, and news clips to keep the fan sites updated and happy.

One can only imagine the flurry of email and hasty addition of links that followed the launch of Adam Sandler's latest film, The Peeper -- a six-minute cartoon, available free and exclusively online.

While the cartoon loads -- it takes about six minutes -- we are treated to the animated image of a pouting Sandler, dressed like an eight-year-old boy just back from Little League practice, punching and stomping on the Parental Advisory warning label. Web surfers know that warning labels with threatening language, like "You must be 18 to enter," are paper tigers. By undermining the weak authority of ratings systems, Sandler's going for an easy laugh -- a warm-up, if you will.

Parents, of course, will be horrified (though privately amused) by the content of The Peeper, which follows a middle-aged male pervert on an evening excursion up a tree to spy on a woman through her window. In his trademark childish, nasal tone, Sandler provides us with the internal dialogue of his character, who dons nipple clips ("Painful. But deserve it."), sniffs his fingers after scratching his butt, ejaculates when caught, and wishes that the cop who arrests him would pee on him.

Adam Sandler's comedic gift is to take society's biggest losers and become them. He's played a wedding singer, the angry owner of a "piece of shit car" on his 1996 CD, What the Hell Happened to Me, a dimwitted rich kid (Billy Madison), and a lousy boyfriend in Big Daddy. In becoming the butt of the joke, he transforms basic human anxieties into characters that are not only unthreatening, but amusing. The Peeper exemplifies this winning method.

It's also a sad commentary on Sandler's profession. The Peeper is a loser; Sandler plays losers. The Peeper gets off on humiliation; Sandler gets rich off of becoming the butt of the joke. Sandler is closer to his humiliation-loving deviant than you might think.

Conversely, there is also something wickedly smart in debuting a cartoon about a chronic public masturbator on the Internet -- which itself serves as a metaphorical window for autoerotic tendencies. Oh the layers of meaning!

Of course, this film, like Sandler's site, is just one big, glossy hard sell. "The Peeper" sketch appears on Sandler's latest CD, Stan and Judy's Kid, and invitations to purchase Stan and Judy and Sandler's other CDs and films are prominently placed throughout the site. The animated short could have just as easily played in theaters. We know from The Phantom Menace that dedicated fans will actually pay $8.50 to watch a trailer. That Sandler put The Peeper on the Web shows remarkable savvy.

He knows his audience is not only happy to be marketing targets, but will willingly participate in selling a product -- by linking to the film, forwarding it over e-mail, etc. -- if they get something out of the deal. What they get with The Peeper is expertly packaged humiliation and butt and cum jokes aplenty.

Jenn Shreve is a freelance writer in San Francisco and a media columnist for