Billy Madison (SE)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Twenty-seven year old, spoiled rich kid Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) has to go back to school to prove to his father that he can run his Fortune 500 company by successfully finishing grades one through twelve in six months. Unfortunately, it’s not easy as it seems, what with falling in love with your teacher and having an arch enemy, Eric (Bradley Whitford) trying to sabotage your goal, that is. Originally released in 1995.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There were barely any funny moments in this film, and I found it made me sleepy, not a good sign. Although I usually love Sandler’s films, and they make me laugh, this one was a dud. One of the reasons was that the film lacked warmth and any real connection to the main character. Sandler’s Billy Madison was bland and immature to the point of being annoying and didn’t make a deep enough connection with this viewer. His love interest, third grade teacher Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson) needs acting classes, as well as lacking any chemistry with Sandler. Their relationship, if you can call it that, left me cold. The film has some great actors in it, notably the late Chris Farley who plays the bus driver, and another SNL star, Norm MacDonald, who plays Billy’s friend and although he’s good, as is Farley, their roles are too minor to really make a positive impact on the overall film. I wish this film had been more entertaining, funnier perhaps, but also more emotionally involving because I like the actors in it, and I was rooting for them.
The one saving grace, and it’s not even a big save, is Bradley Whitford as the evil, conniving Eric who also wants to get control of Madison Hotels after Billy’s father retires. He is quite good, or should I say bad, and he is even a bit funny. The musical sequence in which Bridgette Wilson is dressed in Austrian clothing was really bad, but the dodgeball scene was funny, especially since the Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat” is playing while Billy is beating on the brats. That was the funniest scene in the entire film and probably the reason I gave it two stars instead of one. Last but not least, the tiny part that Steve Buscemi has was a treat, particularly since I didn’t like that much about this film so seeing Buscemi was a plus.
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes: Over half an hour long and not that entertaining unless you’re a die –hard fan of this movie.
Outtakes: Five minutes of absolute boredom, nothing funny here either.
Audio commentary by director Tamra Davis: The one and only feature that has any merit, this commentary is informative, and even has a couple of cool anecdotes although be warned that Ms. Davis speaks in a monotonous tone and there are many silent pauses too.
All in all, the least funny Sandler pic I have seen and not a good example of his work. I mean “The Wedding Singer” and this are as different as night and day. If you are a serious Adam Sandler fan, you might want to check this out, otherwise I suggest you rent a better Sandler comedy, such as the one mentioned above, or even “Happy Gilmore”.