Directed by Seth Kearsley, starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Jackie Titone and Austin Stout.
A movie for the holidays, cynics would say, should be no problem for Adam Sandler. After all, with the likes of 'The Waterboy', 'Little Nicky' and the recent 'Mr Deeds' to his name, he knows plenty about serving up turkeys. And while his lead role in Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Punch Drunk Love' promises a bright New Year, with 'Eight Crazy Nights' Sandler has cooked up a whopper that could guarantee indigestion for a week.
'Eight Crazy Nights' subverts the seasonal cartoon genre by taking 'A Christmas Carol' and mixing it with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, bawdy gags, saccharine, musical numbers and product placement. Sandler plays Davey Stone, a lush loser who is given one more chance to clean up his act by refereeing kids' basketball. This hard time puts him in contact with an ancient codger called Whitey Duvall (also voiced by Sandler), who lives with his bald sister (guess who?), does good deeds by the minute and adheres to the spirit of Hanukkah. Whitey knows just where and why Davey got lost in life and sets about trying to turn him around. But it's not easy to reason with a troubled man – especially one who's willing to kick an octogenarian head first into a bulging-at-the-hinges portaloo and watch it roll down a hill.
It's impossible to figure out who exactly Sandler and director Seth Kearsley were pitching the film at. Some of the jokes will go right over the heads of younger kids, it doesn't have a 'Beavis and Butthead' or 'South Park' cred to make adults go to see it, and teenagers will hardly be wracked with guilt for choosing 'The Two Towers' instead. Cool song-and-dance routines aside, the feeling you get after 85 minutes of bad animation and a ropier script is that this was a 10-minute sketch for a DVD bonus that somehow snowballed into a full movie budget.
Don't let your festive spirit go this far.