After several years as a Saturday Night Live writer and cast member (from 1990 to 1995 ), he went on to star in several Hollywood feature films that grossed over US$100 million at the box office and remains as a major box office draw. He is best known for his comedic roles, though he has ventured into more dramatic territory.
His characters usually fall under the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but also with a healthy dose of Man Child with a serious need to grow up. Realizing that he can only take that role so far, he has sought to expand his range into a couple of dramas. Otherwise he takes much of the Deadpan Snarker behavior but adds some more complex motivation behind it.
Responsible for Happy Madison production, and often plays a music fan. Expect '70s and '80s music (like Led Zeppelin) to be not only part of the soundtrack, but part of the spoken dialog in some way, shape or form.
In 2012, he earned the distinct "honor" of creating a film that swept the 2011 Razzie Awards ceremony, with 2011's Jack and Jill becoming the first film in the show's history to "win" in every category.
- Going Overboard (1989) - His first movie ever.
- Airheads (1994)
- Billy Madison (1995)
- Happy Gilmore (1996)
- Bulletproof (1996)
- The Wedding Singer (1998)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- Big Daddy (1999)
- Little Nicky (2000)
- Mr. Deeds (2002)
- Punch Drunk Love (2002) - His first (arguably) straight drama.
- Eight Crazy Nights (2002) - Adam Sandler as you've never seen him before...Animated!
- Anger Management (2003)
- 50 First Dates (2004)
- Spanglish (2004) - A Dramedy, leaning closer to realistic, straight drama (and Sandler is the Straight Man of a crazy family)
- The Longest Yard (2005 remake)
- Click (2006)
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
- Reign Over Me (2007) - His second straight drama.
- You Don't Mess With the Zohan (2008)
- Bedtime Stories (2008)
- Funny People (2009) - another dramedy, but equal parts comedy and drama. By equal we mean both genre take turns.
- Grown Ups (2010)
- Just Go with It (2011)
- Jack and Jill (2011)
The following tropes tend to be illustrated by Sandler, his characters, or the movies in which he is the star:
- Beware the Nice Ones
- The Cameo: In quite a few of his films, especially from the late '90s and early '00s, there is often a scene toward the end in which Rob Schneider stands up out of a crowd and shouts "You can do it!" in a vaguely foreign accent. (It first appeared in The Waterboy.)
- Dysfunction Junction
- Funny Foreigner
- Hey, It's That Guy!: His films tend to have a huge number of cameos from Sandler's SNL friends, sports figures, musicians, and other various pop culture icons.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- This Loser Is You
- Product Placement: To the point that most of his movies shown on TV have to be censored to remove the brand names for legal reasons
- Production Posse: The films he makes at Happy Madison can have a lower cast/crew turnaround than a Coen Brothers movie. For instance, he often works with director Dennis Dugan and Peter Segal and actors David Spade, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Chris Farley (while he was alive), Steve Buscemi, Kevin Nealon, and Tim Meadows.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- ↑ That's from the middle of season 16 to the end of season 20