Anger Management

Anger ManagementStarring:
Jack Nicholson as Dr. Buddy Rydell
Adam Sandler as Dave Buznik
Marisa Tomei as Linda
Krista Allen as Stacy
Roger Clemens as Himself
Allen Covert as Andrew
Kurt Fuller as Frank Head
Rudolph W. Giuliani as Himself
Heather Graham as Kendra
Luis Guzmán as Lou
Woody Harrelson as Galaxia
January Jones as Gina
Jonathan Loughran as Nate
Kevin Nealon as Sam
John C. Reilly as Arnie Shankman
Isaac C. Singleton Jr. as Air Marshall
Peter Spruyt as Ricky
Harry Dean Stanton as Blind Man
Lynne Thigpen as Judge Daniels
John Turturro as Chuck
Nancy Walls as Stewardess

Summary:
“Anger Management” is your typical Adam Sandler comedy, but Jack Nicholson and a strong supporting cast help raise the quality of the film. It’s worth checking out.

Story:
Dave Buznik is a mild mannered fellow. Shy and reserved, David is pushed around at work and he is uncomfortable with public displays of affection with his girlfriend, Linda. After a bizarre incident on an airplane, David is arrested, determined to have an explosive temper, and sentenced to an anger management course. Famous therapist Dr. Buddy Rydell leads the course. Known for his unorthodox treatments, Rydell puts David in his class with a parade of other angry misfits.

However, Rydell determines that underneath David’s calm exterior is a seething rage ready to explode. He decides that a more rigorous therapy is in order. He moves into David’s apartment and begins monitoring his every waking moment. It’s doesn’t take long for David’s true temper to boil to the surface. David begins to think that Rydell is the insane one. But can Rydell’s shocking treatments be just what David needs to improve his life or will they ruin him?

“Anger Management” is rated PG-13 for crude sexual content and language.

What Worked:
This was probably the funniest Adam Sandler movie to come along in a while. I thought the last few that I saw were duds, but this one really had me laughing. The plot is similar to “The Waterboy”. A shy, quiet misfit taps into his inner rage and ends up winning the girl and being cheered by a large crowd. There’s nothing new here, but the formula still manages to be entertaining.

What really makes this movie interesting is Jack Nicolson. He seems to really have fun making this film and it shows on the screen. The pure joy he exhibits tormenting Adam Sandler is a lot of fun to watch. He’s frequently over the top, but that’s entirely forgivable. They also manage to get him to do a lot of things you normally wouldn’t expect of him. There’s a hilarious moment where Sandler and Nicholson sing a duet of “I Feel Pretty” while parked in the middle of a bridge during rush hour traffic with cursing motorist speeding by them. Another funny scene features the duo getting in a fight with a bunch of Buddhist monks.

While Sandler is his usual goofy self, a fantastic supporting cast really helps round out the film. John Turturro is hilarious as the rage-aholic Chuck. The most psychotic of the bunch, he has flashbacks to his military days during the 12-hour battle in Grenada. Woody Harrelson is freakishly disturbing as the transvestite hooker Galaxia. His cameo is easily one of the most outrageous of the year. John C. Reilly is really funny as Arnie Shankman, a bully who picked on Sandler’s character as a child who is now a Buddhist monk. Their confrontation is one of the funniest moments in the film. Heather Graham earns a lot of laughs as the stunningly beautiful Kendra. In one scene she flips out on Sandler’s character and it’s hilarious and scary at the same time. Krista Allen and January Jones are amusing as a couple of flirtatious porn stars that attend class with Sandler. Also look for amusing cameos by Rudy Giuliani, John McEnroe, Bobby Knight, and Roger Clemens.

What Didn’t Work:
“Anger Management” takes a little while to get going. It starts out slow and doesn’t get rolling until Jack Nicholson comes fully into the picture. Even then it takes him some time to really start generating the laughs.

Like most Adam Sandler films, the movie is weakest when it tries to get serious or sappy. Fortunately most of this is saved for the end. On the other hand, it made the ending a bit of a disappointment. There’s your cheesy romantic scene where Sandler gets the girl, the cheesy part where the crowd cheers him in, and more. I couldn’t help but think there was a better way to end it. I would have liked to see more involvement by Sandler’s anger management classmates. A final revelation as to why Nicholson’s character does what he does not only fails to make sense, but it was unrealistic.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, though, “Anger Management” is a fun comedy. Fans of Sandler and Nicolson should be pleased. It’s a great escape from reality and a fun weekend distraction.

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