Apr 162003
 
Authors: Eric Todd Patton

In the newest Adam Sandler movie, “Anger Management,” Sandler stars with the Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson.

Because of Dave Buznik’s (Sandler) implosive, or repressive, anger problem he appears to be a very calm and easy going man; that is, until there is a miscommunication aboard an airplane.

The frazzled flight attendant, played by Nancy Walsh of Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show, orders Buznik to settle down although he is speaking very calmly. He then gets a stun gun in the belly and a lawsuit slapped on him, ordering him into the care of Dr. Rydell (Nicholson).

This starts Buznik’s therapy, a therapy that sets us on a plot of complete ridiculousness. You must apply that wonderful mindset of suspended disbelief in order to really enjoy the antics to come.

Rydell moves in with Buznik so the therapy can be a 24-hour-a-day process. The purpose of the therapy is not because Buznik is violently angry; it is because he is internally angry. Rydell needs to get Buznik in touch with this anger and direct it in the right ways.

When Buznik gets angry and misdirects it, Rydell calms him. One of the best scenes of the movie comes to us from a car parked on a bridge in the middle of rush hour, where Buznik gets angry and Rydell calms him by forcing him to sing “I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story.” It is a hilarious duet by Sandler and Nicholson.

I cannot give away what tactics Rydell uses to anger Buznik, but most of them are funny. The rest are almost in the category of absurd, even after the little twist at the end. Yet, these tactics are not the best parts of the movie.

This movie had an incredible cast, including John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei. There are cleaver little cameos from angry sports personalities like Bobby Knight (the crazed coach who caught a player by the throat) and John MacEnroe (the tennis player who sobbed on the court after throwing his racket).

There were moments of humor, and moments of pain. I always think Graham is a little difficult to watch and Sandler just being angry does not create hilarity like it did in “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” But Nicholson, somehow, delivers incredible performances whether he is in comedy or drama. I love his “I Feel Pretty.”

The scene at the Buddhist colony, which is the fight between Reilly and Sandler, was classic. This one rivals the Bob Barker fight.

See this film for the ridiculousness of the plot, the surprise cameos by all I mentioned and failed to mention, and the fact that it is just a fun, yet typical, Sandler movie. If you read into it too much or fail to suspend your disbelief, like I do as a critic, then the funny parts will not seem as funny. Sit back and laugh.

Starring; Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Heather Graham, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, John C. Rielly with Mayor Giuliani.

Directed By; Peter Segal

What You Need To Know; Moments of funny in a plot of ridiculousness.

FINAL GRADE; B-

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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