Anger Management. Sony Pictures presents a film directed by Peter Segal. Written by David Dorfman. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 (on appeal for crude sexual content and language). Starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei, John Turturro.

Anger Management

If you love Adam Sandler, stop reading this review. I mean, like, now. Close your browser and rush out to a theater playing Anger Management, because it's exactly what you want.

Everyone else, hang on a second. Don't close your browser and rush out to a theater playing Anger Management, because it's exactly what Adam Sandler fans want. And that means an uneven comedy filled to the brim with sexual innuendo, flatuence, comedy violence, and even a long-running big dick joke.

Actually, Anger Management is a little bit better than the average Adam Sandler movie. Not because the writing is that much better ('s better than the-so-bad-not-even-Sandler-fans-liked-it Little Nicky), or that Sandler has improved. No, it's because of - who else? - Jack Nicholson. Certainly, other actors could have pulled this off, but no one can play insane better than Nicholson. He cocks his eyebrows and he's instantly nuts. He adds a much-needed freshness to the otherwise standard movie.

Sandler is Dave Buznik, a mild-mannered office worker. But after a series of contrived events, Dave is forced to undergo anger management classes with Buddy Rydell (Nicholson), who could very well be unbalanced. And then...well, that's it.

It's a promising premise for a thirty minute short, but for a 100 minute feature, the comedy is spread really thin. There are moments in Anger Management that are very funny (Nicholson forcing Sandler to sing "I Feel Pretty" on the side of the Brooklyn Bridge is a standout), but all too often the humor is overly familiar. And the film mistakingly tries to humanize Dave by giving him an adorable girlfriend (Marisa Tomei, who is far too good for this kind of thing) and problems displaying affection in public, but the only thing this does is provide an underdeveloped and uninteresting sidestory.

The series of events that lead up to Dave's indictment are ridiculous. The first time we know something is off is when we first meet Buddy. He is sitting next to Dave, laughing his ass off at the in-flight movie - Tomcats. No living person in the world enjoyed Tomcats. But that's just the start. Dave asks for headphones, and, after doing absolutely nothing wrong, Dave is subdued and arrested by the Air Marshall aboard the plane. Now, the finale, of course, explains why everything is so contrived (except why Buddy liked Tomcats - that's a question that will never be answered), but it is unbelievably stupid, even for the type of movie it's in.

Like in every other one of his movies, Sandler feels the need to show off just how many people he knows. Some of the numerous cameos work, specifically the ones with respected actors (Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly), and I admit to being amused by John McEnroe's brief appearance, but everyone else draws undue attention to him (or her) self. Rudy Giuliani's appearance in the film's climax (which was cliché before Sandler was born) is so bad I was embarrassed to be watching it.

Are any Sandler fans still reading? If so, you see what I mean, it's exactly what you want. In fact, it could be his best movie (not counting Punch-Drunk Love, which wasn't really a "Sandler" movie) in several years. But for everyone else, you'd be better off renting Anger Management when you want something simple and forgettable to watch.

© 2003 Matt Noller