Director: Peter Segal
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei
Duration: 106 minutes
After Jack Nicholson's two previous films, The Pledge and
About Schmidt, Anger Management seems rather frivolous. The
theme is serious enough, the anger and rage that lurk beneath
the surface of so many 'ordinary' people, people who feel
put down and have a low self-esteem, and can erupt at the
most unexpected times. However, the general setting is portrayed
as realistic, the treatment is more like farce, situations
for a sitcom. And, when the final twist is revealed at the
end, it makes it all seem too unbelievably contrived.
Perhaps Jack Nicholson had his eye on the popular success
of Robert de Niro's two 'Analyze' films - even to singing
songs from West Side Story where Nicholson has it all over
de Niro! The formula is some what the same except that the
psychiatrist is now the seemingly crazy extravert and the
client is the meek and submissive type. Jack Nicholson looks
as if he has been overdosing on his performances in The Shining
and The Witches of Eastwick to create his Buddy, the anger
management therapist. It is left to Adam Sandler to bring
the quiet and reflective atmosphere until Buddy challenges
him to self-assertion and he is able to propose in front of
thousands at the Yankee Stadium, urged on by Rudoph Giuliani
and the fans.
In the meantime, poor Dave (Sandler's character who designs
clothes for outsize pets) is caught up in assaults in a plane
and in a bar which are not really of his doing. As a favour
to Buddy, David is sentenced to a month's anger management
with Buddy moving in and controlling David's life - and, it
seems, stealing the affection of his girlfriend, Marisa Tomei.
There are therapy groups with John Turturro and Luis Guzman
leading the rage group. David has to persuade a girl in a
bar (Heather Graham) to date him; he has to confront his childhood
bully who is now a Buddhist monk (John C.Reilley); he has
to challenge his boss who has overlooked him for promotion.
Many of these sequences are quite funny, especially with
Sandler capitalising on his hangdog style rather than just
being stupid as he has tended to do in many films. But, overall,
cast expectations would lead audiences to expect something
a little funnier and a little less silly.