Film reviews

Anger Management, Dir: Peter Segal - Cert: 15

When the opening titles started to roll I discovered that this is indeed an Adam Sandler film. By this I don’t mean that he is one of the stars of the film but rather it’s his production company that is behind the film. Most of these / his previous films follow a very similar pattern: Sandler is an annoying prat with some behavioural problem that manifests itself in either a psychological or physical condition and that is countered by some blatant character / audience manipulation, giving the Sandler character some inherent positive, polictally correct attribute. This is essential to get his character on the side of the audience.

Virtually all his movies follow this pattern of overcoming this affliction while teaching a moral lesson and trying to give laughs along the way. Generally I find the films quite simplistic, slap-stick and a best inconsistently, mildly amusing.

So you can imagine my heart sinking when I saw that Anger Management was a Sandler production. Being a fan of Jack Nicholson and I wondered if he had become a bit short of cash, especially as he looked like playing second fiddle to the slightly irritating Sandler1.

Anger Management is the simple story of Dave Buznik (Sandler), embarrassed in his pre-teens when about to have his first kiss and thus resulting in certain expressive and confrontational problems in his adult life. It is the role of Jack Nicholson (as Buddy Rydell) to lead Sandler through a series of experiences and confrontations thus resulting in a cathartic process of healing for the Sandler character. While the narrative and its conclusion are never in doubt and the premise simplistic and naïve, the film is actually quite enjoyable and funny and only briefly annoying and sentimental.

This moderate comedic success is almost entirely down to Jack Nicholson’s 110% performance. In years 50 years time I think the cinematic and performing communities will appreciate him even more than they do now. He offers such gusto and energy to almost all the roles he takes he is enjoyable to watch even though some performances seem variations on a theme.

The film is also peppered with other subtle references, one to Nicholson’s own temper problems when he smashed a motorist’s windscreen with a golf club. There are quite a few cameo appearances by other big names too, most notably the beautiful Heather Graham, and most annoy cameo goes to ex-New York mayor Rudi Giuliani who takes over the role of the “You can do it!” line that is ever-present in the Sandler films. The usual culprit being Rob Schneider. Bring back Rob!


If you want a good, solid comedy with another great performance by Jack Nicholson then you will not be disappointed. 7/10 (6 is maybe a little harsh, but I’m undecided)

(Sandler pocketed a huge $25,000,000 + a percentage of the film’s gross.)

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