Anger Management

Review Date:
Director: Peter Segal
Writer: David Dorfman
Producers: Jack Giarraputo, Todd Garner
Adam Sandler
Jack Nicholson
Marisa Tomei
A mild-mannered junior executive with an aversion to confrontation is forced to enter into an anger management program after he “assaults” a flight attendant for not bringing him any headphones. The man overseeing his treatment is an apparent expert in the field, but as we quickly discover, he doesn’t necessarily have all of his screws tightened all that snuggly either. Confrontations, anger, wedgies and humor ensue.
Funny movie. I walked out of this screening with only those two words coming out of my mouth (and plenty of salsa, thank you very much) and for any comedic enterprise, I don’t think you could ask for too much more than that. I went into this picture with very few expectations since I wasn’t particularly impressed with much from its trailer (other than the stuff on the plane), but I have to say that it actually managed to entertain me pretty much the whole way through with some hearty chuckles, some laugh-out-loud laughs and plenty of giggles. What really made this movie work though, other than its joke-filled screenplay of course, was the chemistry between Nicholson and Sandler. Yes, I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but the balance of the “psycho” vs “calm” guy was played perfectly here and much like Crystal and DeNiro worked well off each other in the ANALYZE THIS flicks, the two lead actors were the lynchpin in this film. It is to note, however, that I’ve always been a pretty big fan of Sandler’s work (other than a couple of his films that didn’t click for me), and after his solid turn in last year’s PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, it’s nice to see him trying to “grow” somewhat as an actor (he doesn’t play the typical “man-child-idiot” that he does in most of his films here). Another thing that strengthens most Sandler comedies are its secondary players and much like he did in MR. DEEDS, John Turturro has a blast with his role here and is as funny as ever. Give this man a starring role in a comedy already…he’s hilarious! Credit also goes out to Sandler for taking on the “straighter” role in this film and for allowing others to bring forth more of the humor. Luis Guzman is also a hoot as the angry “queen”, as is Allen Covert, Sandler’s staple right-hand man, as the ideal big-dicked asshole.

A tiny nod also goes out to Marisa Tomei for playing her part of the “adorable girlfriend” as “adorable” as can be, and to Heather Graham for, once again, gracing us with a clean shot of her wonderful package in undergarments. Thanks babe…I needed that!! Another thing that surprised me about this movie was its reliability. You know how a lot of these comedies start off strong for the first half an hour but then steamroll into zero laughs and unfunny gags up the wazoo? Well, this film started the same way but surprisingly maintained a pretty consistent quotient of laughs throughout (except for the finale, which went for the inevitable Sandler “romantic corn”). And while the plotline is obviously not a revolutionary one, they still managed to spice things up with a left turn here and a right turn there. Some of the more memorable moments included lesbians in action, Mayor Giuliani getting the honors of Sandler’s trademark “You can do it!” line, eclectic anger management sessions, fun with fat cats, fun with fat monks and the underlying humorous notion of Sandler being misdiagnosed in various situations as well as plenty of the proverbial Sandler staples like dick jokes, gay jokes, cameos galore, swearing and folks getting angry and going loopy. On the negative tip, the editing seemed a little choppy with some scenes feeling short or even left out and the revelatory ending, a little lame and somewhat unrealistic. Certain jokes also didn’t work for me including the “West Side Story” shtick, which I thought was taken a little too far, and the Woody Harrelson cameo, which seemed like a “funny” concept, but didn’t play all that well (although it’s nice to see that he’s alive and well…or high?) Then again, not every joke works in any comedy, so that’s par for the course. In the end, I certainly don’t foresee folks doing cartwheels over this production, but if you’re looking for some “easy” laughs with a couple of big-time movie stars, and several funny supporting characters, having a blast with an entertaining screenplay, ANGER MANAGEMENT might just be for you.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian