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LITTLE NICKY
Reviewed September 29th, 2001 by David Nusair

 

There are two types of Adam Sandler comedies: Those in which he speaks with an unusual voice (The Waterboy) and those in which he speaks normally (The Wedding Singer). Little Nicky falls under the former category and essentially represents the worst of the Sandler comedies. Itís occasionally funny, though never as hilarious as Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison, and the whole thing just seems over-produced. Itís as if Sandler had finally received this huge budget and felt the need to ensure that every penny was accounted for in the final product (from the lavish sets to the stunt casting of Harvey Keitel as Sandlerís father, subtlety just doesnít exist within Little Nicky).

Sandler stars as Little Nicky, the son of Satan (Keitel). Nickyís face is permanently contorted into this bizarre half-grin due to being beaten with a shovel by his brother. This causes him to speak with this lisp/grating accent that is so irritating, so obnoxious, it almost completely destroys the film before itís halfway through the first reel. After his two evil brothers embark on a quest to rule earth, Nicky must follow them and capture them or else souls will no longer be admitted into Hell and his father will die. While on earth, he befriends a shy geek (Patricia Arquette) and slowly discovers what being human is all about.

There are a few minor laughs scattered throughout the flick (the funniest scene has got to be, hands down, the Regis cameo Ė if youíve seen it, you know what Iím talking about), but thereís no Happy Gilmore-esque belly-laughs. The biggest problem is that unlike his earlier movies, Sandlerís chosen to bring us a world thatís completely alien (unless, of course, you routinely make daytrips to Hell), so itís hard to relate to anything (and thus find anything funny). The funniest comedies are that way because they take something out of reality and contort it to outlandish levels.

But Little Nicky is entertaining and diverting enough to warrant a recommendation (towards a rental, if you havenít seen it).

Audio: Presented with a DD 5.1 soundtrack, Little Nicky sounds great. From the opening scene Ė with Jon Lovitz as The Peeper - to the final confrontation with the two evil brothers (and an Ozzy Osbourne appearance!) Ė this is an all-around nice track. Surround sound channels are active, though without drowning out dialogue (letís face it Ė with a movie like this, dialogue is muy importante).

Video: This anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer is, as usual with the case of New Line, is near perfect. There arenít any film or DVD related artifacts, and the image just looks incredibly clean and crisp. New Line is certainly at the top of the list when it comes to presenting their movies!

Extras: Speaking of knowing how to present a movie, check out the extras on this disc. First up is a commentary track with Adam Sandler, co-writer Tim Herlihy and director Steven Brill. These guys are obviously friends and it shows in this track. They have a lot of fun with each other and watching the movie, and pass along a wealth of informative tidbits. There are few quiet spots (and the few that do exist are very short) which makes this track a pleasure to listen to. And as good as that is, the second commentary track is even better. Hosted by Michael McKean and featuring almost a dozen participants (including Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, and Henry Winkler), this track is frequently hilarious and always interesting. This track almost feels like a party, with McKean the host and the various other participants guests who drop by every now and then. This is a great track. Up next is a 20 minute featurette entitled Adam Sandler Goes to Hell. This covers everything from the casting to the set design to the special effects. This is very informative and not what you would expect from a DVD featurette. Nicely done. Next up is a documentary titled Satanís Top 40. This doesnít have much to do with the movie, as itís concerned mostly with heavy metal music Ė but itís interesting nonetheless. Hopefully thisíll spark a new trend of throwing in featurettes that are only periphally connected to the movie. Next is 21 deleted scenes and an alternate ending. None of these are particularly amazing, but theyíre all interesting. Some are simply differently edited takes on existing scenes, while others are brand new scenes. They are all available anamorphically enhanced. Next is a music video for the song School of Hard Knocks by P.O.D. Rounding out the package are the trailer (anamorphic widescreen) and some cast/crew bios. There are a number of DVD-ROM only extras, including the complete script and the complete website.

Conclusion: This oneís a no-brainer. If you havenít seen Little Nicky, this is certainly worth a rental. If you have and you liked it, New Lineís put together a package thatíll please fans and even non-fans. Grab it.

 

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