Starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei, John Turturro, Luis Guzman
Pairing Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in a movie called Anger Management was a stroke of genius. Unfortunately the filmmakers failed to meet the potential of the idea and the result is a run-of-the-mill Sandler movie that just so happens to co-star Jack Nicholson.
Sandler stars as Dave Buznik, a meek New York businessman who has never been able to stand up for himself. He continues to sit by quietly by while his boss takes credit for all his business ideas, including one involving a clothing line for fat cats (literally). Dave is the type of man that anger management therapist Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson) would describe as ‘implosive’.
“Explosive is the kind of individual that you see screaming at the cashier for not taking their coupons; implosive is the cashier, who remains quiet day after day and finally shoots everyone in the store.”
Dave meets Dr. Rydell on a business trip where he is preposterously accused of assaulting a flight attendant and sentenced to anger management therapy with the good doctor.
Adam Sandler movies tend to run hot and cold with me. For example, I loved Happy Gilmore, but I hated Waterboy. Last year I took the opposite view of most critics, laughing all the way through Mr. Deeds while not being all that impressed with Punch-Drunk Love. Anger Management tends to fall about in the middle of the Sandler hit list.
The movie is just about as stupid as they get, but I found myself laughing a lot and, let’s face it, the point of comedies is to make us laugh. Sandler and Nicholson are effective. They both seem happy to go crazy after toning it down in Punch-Drunk Love and About Schmidt, respectively. I thought the two played well off of each other, and really wish the filmmakers would have done more with the apartment sharing. I thought that presented a perfect opportunity for Odd Couple-ish hilarity.
The movie is filled wall to wall with celebrity cameos including Woody Harrelson (as a drag queen), Heather Graham (as a hot Red Sox fan), John C. Reilly (as a monk), John Turturro and Luis Guzman (as two of Buddy’s patients) and anger management punch lines Bobby Knight and John McEnroe. I’ve heard many critics complain that cameos are comedy desperation, but I enjoy cameos, particularly in a wacky comedy like this. However, I must admit that the corny ending featuring Rudy Giuliani is going a little too far (Roger Clemens and Derek Jeter get a good laugh though).
For anyone hoping Adam Sandler’s career might be going the path of Punch-Drunk Love, you might want to avoid this one. But for those hoping of a return to form, you will probably enjoy it. I give it a B-.