Picks and Pans Review: Anger Management
Just as Robert De Niro's impassioned rendition of "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story was a highlight of the otherwise mediocre Analyze That last fall, Sandler and Nicholson's joyously belting out the same song while driving across a bridge in the comically thin Anger Management literally stops traffic—giving the movie its biggest laugh. Who says a good joke won't work twice?
Sandler plays meek Dave Buznik, a 35-year-old nice guy who is a walking doormat. Nicholson is Dr. Buddy Rydell, a therapist assigned by a court to treat Buznik for alleged anger issues after he uncharacteristically lashes out at strangers a couple of times. But wait, here's the ruling comic concept: The doctor is crazier than the patient. Dr. Rydell moves in with Buznik, puts the moves on the younger man's girlfriend (Tomei) and waves golf clubs threateningly at persons and cars (an inside joke, harkening back to Nicholson's 1994 road-rage incident involving a golf club).
There are laughs here, but they mostly come from seeing what crazy thing Nicholson's character will do next and how Sandler's schmo will react. It gets old fast. For a comedy such as this to soar, the events unfolding on the screen must be solidly grounded in real life; one never begins to buy anything happening in Anger. Sandler, playing straight man to Nicholson's zany, barely bestirs himself beyond putting on a sad-sack face. Nicholson, filching from his slyly wicked turns in The Witches of Eastwick (1987) and The Shining (1980), slides by on his own curdled charm. The best and by far most clever things in Anger are cameos featuring models-of-calm Bobby Knight, John McEnroe and ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. (PG-13)
BOTTOM LINE: Manages to mildly amuse
On Newsstands Now
- Kim's Delivery Room Drama!
- Katie: A Year After Split
- Princess Kate: Palace's Baby Plan Revealed
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine