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Anger Management | Review

Foul Ball

Comedy with a couple of laughs becomes a hit parade of the unfunny.

There are two types of Adam Sandler flicks that annoy me, the ones with unpleasantly obnoxious characters and those with sappy romantic/childlike loud portrayals of a grown man wearing a baseball cap; this newest insult borrows from both. To tell you the truth, everything which Sandler has been in has annoyed me, but in 2002 things changed. Punch-Drunk Love showed that when Sandler doesn’t have to worry about the product that he is able to deliver and after this stellar performance and the added punch from the legendary Jack who was remarkable in About Schmidt I was actually expecting something. Surprisingly, the crudeness of the picture, the shallowness and caricature-ness of the characters and an awful script was still able to generate audience laughs.

Sandler’s character is a pathetic waste of life, he isn’t a bad guy, he just sulks around feeling sorry for himself and works at a job designing street wear for obese cats. Nicholson is a guru of sorts, teaching people the way of self-control, which is contradicted by his physical abuse of inanimate objects-not to director Nicholson should have picked up the golf club instead of the baseball bat for obvious historic reasons. As the professor bunks with the prodigy the narrative turns into a ‘give me a break’ scenario- basically, the best way to describe this situational comedy is by paralleling Sandler’s character and the outcome of the film with the rest of the recycled matter from the Happy Madison co. Not even the crappy cameos from the cast of Boogie Nights, (what was John C. Reilly (/)) thinking?, and what a miss use of Marisa Tomei (/) talents) can save this picture. Astonishingly, Nicholson and Sandler manage to pull of some good screen chemistry, well at least Jack is good in the same sort of way as with his performance found in As Good As it Gets.

Too bad, Peter Segal’s Anger Management actually had me chuckle during the horrible preview (the air rage sequence is a hoot), but when actually watching this film, the story, from beginning to the idiotic ending turns to mush, and you can’t help but think that they could have had another hit like There’s Something About Mary. There is plenty of stinker jokes here that clutter up the flick, the John McEnroe bit will be appreciated by the French who love their tennis, and as for the crude jokes, it should keep the jocks happy. This might be a good date comedy flick, showing that when a guy shows his true feelings and kisses in public then he gets some nookie from the girl next door. If you’re an unconditional Sandler fan then I won’t have to tell you to watch the film, but if you want a good comedy then stay away from this one.

Rating 1.5 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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