2 1/2 Stars
Anger Management is about stunt casting, this is a case of the poster one-sheet selling the gimmick. Two large personalities in Sandler and Nicholson share the screen in this rather limp comedy that was shot shortly after 9-11 resulting in a (now oddly) pro-New York attitude, that the film wears with pride. The best and funniest scenes in the movie are the cameos, and when Sandler loses his cool springing into the enraged madman audience have come to expect.
After an incident gone awry aboard an airplane that escalates into an arrest, the mild-tempered Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is mandated to participate in anger management classes headed by Doctor Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), which are filled with highly eccentric and increasingly volatile men and women. The casting in these sequences are great, everyone from John Turturro to January Jones nails their bit part. This ensemble regularly tries to pocket the movie from both stars.
Buddy’s seemingly unprofessional and highly unorthodox approach to Dave’s healing is confrontational and abrasive. The court orders more therapy for Dave. So, Buddy decides its best if he moves in with his patient to help him battle his inner turmoil. The joke being that Sandler’s character has an implosive rage, compared to the other’s explosives rage.
Not until nearly an hour in does Sandler finally let loose and start the schtick that has propelled him to the stratosphere in terms of box-office receipts. We are designed to have conflicting feelings about Buddy and his lessons being taught, one moment the doctor is hitting on Dave’s girlfriend Linda (Marisa Tomei) and the next, goading Dave into confronting every slight.
This is not especially funny or witty material. The sight gag of Sandler and Nicholson sharing a bed is recycled and done better in other movies, the absence of tone allows its actors to behave wildly and dramatic sometimes within the same scene. These distracting elements ultimately cripple the film, sure Buddy turns out to be a friend but for the majority of the movie, he is an unpleasant domineering personality.
Director: Peter Segal
Stars: Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei