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Movie Review

Anger Management

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Directed by Peter Segal, starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, Jonathan Loughren, Kurt Fuller and John Turturro.

Having reminded us in recent times just why he is regarded as one of the finest actors of the past four decades, it looked like Jack Nicholson was finally beginning to wake up to the fact that there are decent roles for the more mature male. With 'The Pledge' and, to a lesser extent, 'About Schmidt', Jack reminded us that when he puts his mind to it, he can act most others off the screen.

But what happens when he doesn't put his mind to it? Or rather, when he chooses material so poor that he simply doesn’t need to put his mind to it? Well, in that instance, you get 'Anger Management'. Luckily for Nicholson, co-star Adam Sandler doesn't exactly present much opposition in the dramatic gravitas stakes, so once again joker Jack escapes relatively unscathed.

Sandler plays Dave Buznik, an edgy, emotionally downtrodden businessman who is wrongly sentenced to an anger management programme after a verbal disagreement with an air stewardess is blown out of all proportion. His anger management therapist is, of course, none other than the ridiculously-eccentric-but-equally-effective Dr Buddy Rydell (Nicholson).

So now we have Sandler in an anger management class with some seriously angry folk such as Luis Guzman (completely wasted), Jonathan Loughren and John Turturro (ditto). But that's not all. As part of his 'intensive' treatment, Sandler must also spend every waking moment with Dr Rydell; that means he has to live with him, work with him, and even sleep with him. The amount of laughs that ensue is about the same as the number of Oscars Nicholson has. Maybe one less.

With the amount of talent on board here, the frustration at seeing the end product is doubled. Apart from the above, the cast also includes Marisa Tomei (radiant as ever), and cameos from Woody Harrelson, John C Reilly and Harry Dean Stanton among others.

It is now becoming increasingly obvious that Adam Sandler will never again reach the heights of his early hits like 'Happy Gilmore' and 'The Wedding Singer'. Admittedly, he was much the same in those as the ones he has appeared in since. But nobody but nobody could argue that he was a little more discerning in his script choice back then. As for Jack Nicholson, he has no excuses whatsoever.

A waste of time.

Tom Grealis

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