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Friday, April 18, 2003



ANGER MANAGEMENT

Directed by Peter Segal
Written by David Dorfman
Starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marissa Tomei
Review by Mil Peliculas

All right. I’m getting a little pissed here. What is up with all the mediocre movies coming out lately? Fine, Oscar time has passed; the studios shot their wad a couple months ago. But why make something like Anger Management? It’s just so OKAY. I mean, did Peter Segal get on the phone with his mother a year ago and say, “Mom, guess what! I’m directing this extremely okay movie starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson!” Does it happen like this? Comedy is difficult. We know this. I guess we just have to chalk it up to a miss. Not a big miss, mind you, but a miss just the same. Just so you have a measure with which to gauge my review, I did like Happy Gilmore, my favorite of the Sandler comedies.

What’s it all about? Sandler plays a somewhat repressed average Joe who is wrongly accused of assaulting a Stewardess—or Flight Attendant, rather, and is forced to undergo an anger management course given by Nicholson as Buddy Rydell, famous author and self-help guru type guy. Sounds like it has potential. But it just ain’t that funny. I guess I can’t fault the producers, writer and director, sometimes you don’t know if it’s going to play until an audience sees it. Sure there were the obligatory guffaws from the usual suspects in the theater, the slack-jawed knuckle dragger who just learned to walk erect last Tuesday who laughs his ass off whenever somebody falls over a chair, but should you really count on “early man” to make your movie a hit? I say NO. Please, NO.

Maybe we should fault the readers, who first read this script and kicked it upstairs. It probably came in flatlining and the wide-eyed scriptreader had seen too many episodes of E.R. and decided there was hope after all. They should have stamped DNR on it and put it into that huge stack where all of my screenplays are still sitting. DNR is an obscure pull, I know, it means Do Not Resuscitate, sorry, I’m getting too cute for my own good, I must think I am just soooooo bitchin.

How can I describe how okay this movie is…okay, there’s a scene where Buddy (Nicholson), who has decided to move in with David Buznik (Sandler) in order to give him more hands-on therapy, is riding to work with Dave and Dave is getting flustered because he is late. And check this out! I’m slapping my knee, here--Buddy hits the emergency brake and stops the car, right in the middle of a bridge full of morning New York rush hour traffic, and makes him sing a song to relax, something from West Side Story I think it was. I feel pretty…oh, so pretty…that song. Well, it got a chuckle out of me, but that seemed to be all I was getting out of the whole thing. It may take another viewing to figure out why it does not work that well, but I’m not going to be the one. If you can tell me, drop me an email. I can’t abide watching these kinds of movies more than once. Granted, it’s not as bad as, say, Tomb Raider, where you feel you’ve been rolled, and somebody ran off with 10 bucks and two hours of your life. It’s more like they "permanently borrowed" only 6 bucks and 1 hour, walked away, and said, “Sorry,” on their way to the getaway car. These kinds of films are just
passive-aggressive thievery.

Please, STOP the mediocrity!