Adam Sandler is the shy and awkward youngest son of Satan in Little Nicky, a well produced but not very funny comedy that provides its star with another opportunity to birth a character with annoying verbal traits. Admittedly Nicky is a lot easier to take than Bobby Boucher the nearly mentally impaired footballer from The Waterboy.
Nicky resides in Hell under the constant bullying of his older brothers. While his siblings are intent on claiming the throne, soon to be vacated by their father according to an ancient ritual, Nicky would rather stay in his room and listen to heavy metal music. Satan (Harvey Keitel) calls a meeting to appoint his heir, but at the last-minute, he decides to continue ruling for another 10,000 years. This decision spurs Nicky’s brothers, so the duo flees the underworld for modern-day New York. In the process, they disrupt the natural order of things causing Nicky’s Dad, The Devil, to lose his power and slowly die. With no other options, the weakening Devil orders his beloved, but feeble son Nicky to leave his sheltered life in Hell for the mean streets of New York. With the fate of the planet resting on his shoulders, a nervous Nicky and his guide (a foul-mouthed, talking dog) must find Nicky’s brothers, overcome their formidable powers, and restore the balance between Good and Evil.
There is virtually no through-line in this comedy, which causes lags in momentum for the viewer. For every chuckle there are ten minutes of over-blown fantasy elements. This is without question, the best looking Sandler vehicle so far. The production design is colorful and lively, even when the film and its characters are not. The saving grace is the celebrity cameos from such acting luminaries as Keitel, Reese Witherspoon and Patricia Arquette. They are used effectively and produce a few good visual punch lines. Back as always are the regular acting troupe that populate Sandler’s pictures, Allen Covert and Peter Dante fare the best here.
Director: Steven Brill
Stars: Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel