This is his fourth and worst film as director. There are some themes from past films. The outsider perspective is there, as it was in the other films. If the last films had existed post gentrification, this is a film (somewhat lost in time) that takes place in a place fighting gentrification. The lost in time, somewhat fable element, is new to McCarthy and does not serve him well. McCarthy has never been particularly funny, though The Station Agent is great and good for a few human chuckles, not sure why he put Sandler in this virtually humorless (unless the ending is meant to be a commentaryon the glut of superhero films, then that at least is hilarious) not sure why he cast Sandler. Other directors of note that put Sandler in dramedies at least used his man-child character or his sense of wonderment to good dramatic effect.
Every film starring Adam Sandler (post Billy Madison) is an Adam Sandler vehicle where he is the auteur. If you believe in the auteur theory, then you would have to believe, I think, that certain actors shape the type of film it the thing ends up becoming more than a director or writer: Bogart, Beatty, Nicholson, Dangerfield, Seagal come to mind. There are some themes here from past films, an obsession with old ladies, a strong sense of family and ethnic identity, a cast of Sandler regulars and a plot that if directed by Dennis Dugan could have been as zany as his early vehicles or his newest one Pixels. I would have enjoyed that one more.
There are a lot of WTF moments in this film. Sandler experiencing walking through Chinatown as a Chinese man with a sense of glee that is a bit much. The ending, which I will not give away here is crazy. Dustin Hoffman is paired with a women (in a film earlier this year he was paired with Judy Dench) who seems old enough to be his mother. He is probably near her age but still way vibrant. Lastly, and most troublesome, the film, by virtue of the things the cobbler does when he becomes a black man or a tranny, is racist and sexist. Funny Sandler films have always been sophmoric and sexist but at least they were funny.