Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Dennis Dugan!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity* and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

You Don't Mess with the Zohan Dennis Dugan

The Case

The Prosecution: Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill, Just Go with It, Grown Ups, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The Benchwarmers, National Security, Problem Child 2, Problem Child

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, director Dennis Dugan doesn't just make bad movies; he makes notoriously atrocious ones. Besides being a basic point and shoot filmmaker with little to no style, as Adam Sandler's go-to director, Mr. Dugan has helmed multiple critically-panned films starring the actor, including Jack and Jill, Just Go with It, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups and its sequel. In fact, the director's only fresh movie at Rotten Tomatoes is Happy Gilmore, his first collaboration with Mr. Sandler.

One might argue that Mr. Dugan simply needs to stop working with Mr. Sandler, however most of his other movies are just as awful. National Security and The Benchwarmers are both lazy, juvenile comedies, and the director is also responsible for the dreadful Problem Child flicks.

If Mr. Dugan isn't found guilty, there is something seriously wrong with the system. Mr. Dugan has one of the worst filmographies out there for a director, and he has no one to blame but himself. The prosecution is seeking a life sentence for the filmmaker, and we also believe he should be thrown in solitary confinement so he won't be able to team up with Mr. Sandler while in Movie Jail.

Just Go With It Dennis Dugan Adam Sandler Jennifer Aniston

The Defense: Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, Beverly Hills Ninja, Happy Gilmore, Brain Donors

Ladies and gentlemen, the defense doesn't believe Mr. Dugan is a bad director, just a mediocre one who unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) hooked up with Adam Sandler early in his career. My client may have been behind the camera for more than a few well-known terrible movies, but it's not like he wrote the scripts, so he shouldn't be completely to blame for his movies' critical failures.

Although critics have never been high on Mr. Dugan's films, the audience scores have been decent, and several have done very well at the box office. And many times we can't help but like a movie many would consider to be a "bad" film. The defense has a huge soft spot for Saving Silverman and Beverly Hills Ninja, and we personally know a number of people who thought National Security was hilarious.

Mr. Dugan once said, "Audiences that go to my movies don't want a message. They don't want my soul exposed or my life view. They just want to laugh." If my client's films aren't for you, that's fine, to each their own. However, we shouldn't bury the guy just because you may not be a fan of his movies.

Happy Gilmore Dennis Dugan Adam Sandler


What should we do with the Mr. Dugan? Is he a solid filmmaker who hasn't worked on the best films, or does he definitely belong in Movie Jail? Is director Dennis Dugan GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?

*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyway, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.


Grown Ups 2 Dennis Dugan


Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes was found NOT GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial, but just barely. It was close vote, with some jury members saying Miss Holmes has never been a particularly strong actress. However, many also said we should give her a break since she was reportedly kept under lock and key by former husband Tom Cruise for several years, which certainly didn't help her acting career. You get a pass for now, Miss Holmes, but the court will be keeping an eye on you.


GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher, Happy Madison Productions, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Paul W.S. Anderson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Renee Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf, Renny Harlin, Diane Keaton, McG, Demi Moore, King Joffrey (Game of Thrones Special), David Spade, Spike Lee, Kevin James, Joel Schumacher, Ehren Kruger, Chris Rock, Mark Steven Johnson, Mickey Rourke, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Josh Duhamel, Saw Franchise (Halloween Edition), Zach Braff, Sam Worthington, Melissa McCarthy, The Wachowski Siblings, Kate Bosworth, Garry Marshall, David Goyer, Akiva Goldsman, Avi Arad, Damon Lindelof, Hayden Christensen

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Milla Jovovich, John Singleton, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Brian De Palma, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Freddy Krueger (Halloween Edition), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Chris Columbus, Clive Owen, Terrence Howard, Andrew Niccol, Drew Barrymore, Steve Martin, Joel Silver, Michelle Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Dario Argento, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Quaid, Rob Reiner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, Ivan Reitman, Stephen Sommers, Shawn Levy, Jai Courtney, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Luc Besson, Jason Reitman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Connelly, Sienna Miller, Ben Barnes, Simon West, Len Wiseman, Brendan Fraser, Megan Fox, Neal McDonough, Cameron Crowe, Katie Holmes

UPDATES: Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage and Roland Emmerich, Jim Carrey, Robert Rodriguez and Gerard Butler, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts and The Farrelly Brothers, Ben Stiller, Tim Burton and Shia LaBeouf, Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith & Chris Rock


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