Anger Management (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/06/2003

Three out of Five stars

Comedy starring Adam Sandler as a normal guy who is wrongly sentenced to anger management classes, under the unusual tutelage of Dr Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson).

If you’ve seen the poster for Anger Management (Nicholson and Sandler yelling at each other), you’re probably thinking ‘Hang on – didn’t Adam Sandler play someone with anger issues in his LAST movie?’ The answer being, of course, yes, he did. And, also, come to think of it, in ALL his movies. The difference being that this one has Jack Nicholson in it. Is that clear? Good.

Unorthodox Guru

Sandler plays Dave Buznik, a normal guy who has a job as a PA to a bullying boss and who has somehow also managed to pull Marisa Tomei. An unfortunate incident on a plane (not his fault) gets him sentenced to anger management classes with ‘anger guru’ Dr Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), whose methods are somewhat unorthodox. Fellow patients include Luis Guzman and John Turturro, both of whom are pretty funny.

Unsurprisingly, Rydell just keeps messing up Buznik’s life, moving in with him, wrecking his relationship, getting him into trouble at work, forcing him to chat up Heather Graham (one of several amusing cameos) and making him confront his traumatic past etc. Will his methods pay off? Or is Rydell some kind of mentalist?

Jack the Ham

Essentially, Sandler plays a variation on his usual persona, in that he keeps his anger in check for most of the film. You keep hoping that the 'real' persona will eventually emerge, which it sort of does, although when it finally happens, it’s not quite as funny as you were hoping.

Nicholson is excellent, hamming it up for all he’s worth and clearly having a whale of a time – he’s extremely well cast. There’s also good support from Marisa Tomei, Guzman and Turturro as well as celebrity cameos from the likes of Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly, both of which are probably given away by the trailer.

The film isn’t screamingly funny, as Buznik is too sympathetic and doesn’t really deserve what’s happening to him – consequently you spend most of the film waiting for Sandler to crack. Having said that, there are some good moments and some very funny lines (“I fed my Anger Monkey a banana and I’m feeling real good now”). Similarly, the film is a little cleverer than it first appears and you’ll be hard pressed not to come out of it being reminded of another movie entirely. Worth seeing.

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Anger Management (15)
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Content updated: 21/11/2017 19:34

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