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Movie Review

Anger Mangement

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual content and language.

Reviewed by: Megan Basham
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adult
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Relevant Issues
Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in “Anger Management,” courtesy of Sony Pictures

anger in the Bible

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Krista Allen, Marisa Tomei, Allen Covert | Directed by: Peter Segal | Produced by: Barry Bernardi, Derek Dauchy, Todd Garner, Jack Giarraputo | Written by: Dave Dorfman, David Dorfman | Distributor: Sony Pictures

Something the average, movie-going public needs to understand about critics is that when your job is to see at least one movie a week, like any other job, sometimes you just don’t feel like showing up. And that mood can affect your work. You get so tired of seeing the same plot lines week in and week out that you end up praising any indie-production that offers even the slightest variation on a tried and true theme. As such, it’s no wonder movie-reviewers often fall out of step with mainstream audiences and are quite rightly accused of occasionally losing touch with the general audience.

Ever gone to some whacked-out movie on the advice of Roger Ebert and left thinking, “this guy’s supposed to be an expert?!?” Well, what you were experiencing was probably the result of film-critic burnout. The poor man had seen so many sparkling, romantic comedies full of sparkling, romantic young actresses that suddenly watching three homely women talk about suicide and depression for two and a half hours seemed inexplicably entertaining. Forgive us. Obviously we do our best to set these emotional influences aside, but from time to time, they manage to creep in. And I have a feeling that Adam Sandler’s latest film, “Anger Management”, may be a just such a case of weary movie reviewers coming down a little too hard on a film that is simply trying to serve up what the audience is hungry for.

Is it fairly predictable? Yes. Does Sandler do all those little things his fans have grown to love? Yes. Is it still funny? Sometimes. And with the always eccentric Jack Nicholson thrown in the mix, “Anger Management” still manages to kick out a few surprises.

Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson and John C. Reilly in “Anger Management,” courtesy of Sony

Here, Sandler plays Dave Buznik, an executive assistant who, no matter how unjust the situation or cruel the treatment, never loses his temper. Even when his boss takes credit for his pet-clothing designs (geared hysterically towards the “husky” kitty), Dave never raises his voice and seems content to watch another man steal his girlfriend simply because a childhood trauma has left him unable to stand up for himself.

That is until a series of outlandish events land him in group therapy with the world’s foremost anger authority, Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson). Known for his unorthodox approach, Dr. Buddy’s mantra is “temper is the one thing you can’t get rid of by losing it.” He’s confident his new patient is an “implosive” rage-aholic and employs various methods designed to help Dave release his anger on an unsuspecting world.

Though he turned in a wonderfully understated performance in “About Schmidt”, there is something delicious about watching Jack be Jack—waggling eyebrows, wolfish grin, and all. In fact, without Nicholson’s obvious relish at getting to be himself again, the film could have easily been a total wash. As it is, despite its formulaic story line and over-emphasis on Adam Sandlerisms like constant intrusive cameos (Rudy Guiliani’s being the most ridiculous) “Anger Management” manages to rouse some laughter—that is until jokes about pornography and transsexual prostitution make you want to grab the arms of the young teenagers next to you and haul them out of theater.

This film pole vaults over the PG-13 line. Not only does constant profanity (including the f-word) disrupt some of the funniest scenes, so do two groping lesbians. This is particularly disappointing as Sandler’s quirky humor doesn’t require sleaze to make us chuckle. In fact, when his comedies really work, it’s usually because they take us back to a place of childish emotions. Many of us might like to give a wedgie to the kid who tormented us in grade school, but we don’t because, well, we’re adults. However, we can enjoy living vicariously through Sandler as he pitches golf clubs and dominates a game of grade school dodge-ball.

He may think sexual vulgarity is what his audience is clamoring for, but call me naive, the Adam Sandler that makes me, and I believe many others, laugh is the overgrown kid whose setbacks and triumphs celebrate the child in us all. Bring on the snack-packs and dodge ball.

Year of Release—2003


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—“Anger Management” is a fun movie starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. This movie takes an interesting approach on how one tries to deal with anger in a comical way. The main character befriends the Anger Management therapist and even lives with him for 30 days to get his anger under control. As Christians, we learn to deal with anger effectively and not let it effect us by actively dealing with the root of our anger and through guidance and prayer by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Obviously, the techniques and strategies that are used to control David Buznik’s anger are way over the top, but I’m glad that they were able to use that in a comical sense.

I thought it was really sweet that David’s girlfriend Linda sought him anger management, spends time with him, and provides her emotional support throughout the movie. It shows that she truly cares about him and there are very few people like that out there in the real world. I felt this movie deserved higher ratings than it received. I really enjoyed the comical aspects that Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson provide. They never fail to make me laugh!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chris, age 21 (USA)
Negative
Negative—The moral of the story: Even compliant people have unresolved anger issues and need to learn how to stand up for themselves. Loved the moral. However, the best analogy I can use to describe the rest of this film, is this… 15 feet in front of you is a delicious, nutritious meal (the moral of the story). But in order to get to the meal, you have to get on your hands and knees and lick the grime and garbage off the street. It was so unnecessary! I kept asking myself, “what was that for?” I don’t mind real-world experience even when it’s graphic or even uncomfortable, but it should be at least somewhat germaine to the plot. I love all of the actors and think they are supurb, but the situations that were thrown in for comedic value were misplaced and a distraction.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lisa, age 49 (USA)
Negative—This movie could have been very funny, well done and even influenced reflection on our own anger issues and how we deal with things had there not been so many “flesh issues.” Too often anymore this is downplayed as “no big deal,” but it is a big deal. Just a couple of weeks ago on a Christian Web site, I saw nudity referred to as “eye candy” and it sickened me! This is a problem and honestly ruined an otherwise great movie for me.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
—Wagner, age 27
Negative—This movie’s premise was pretty weak to begin with, but because I like Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, I decided to see it even before reading the review from this Web site. I was shocked at the offensive content… for starters, two lesbian porn stars kissing passionately and many conversations about the size of a man’s penis (and how important “size” is, etc). It was funny at times, but certainly not enough laughs to take away the uncomfortable feeling of having my 15 year old daugther there with me. Definitely for more mature audiences only.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
—Leslie, age 30
Negative—The movie trailer was better than the movie if that is possible. Strong and consistant homosexual, lesbian, transvestite undertones present throughout. Constant references to the size of male anatomy. Some foul launguage. I felt terrible that I went to see this PG-13 movie with my family, ages 15 and up. This could have been a good movie if it wasn’t for all the garbage that Hollywood put in it. Never again will I go to a movie without first stoping in to this Web site for a Christian review.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Greg Dyben, age 43

What about gays needs to change? (It may not be what you think.)

Negative—A good story if they would tone down or eliminate the sexual content and politically correct homosexual messages. Skimpy clothing, many overt references to sexual cultural stereotypes on what women and men want sexually in their partners as far as physical anatomy etc. Two lesbian porno stars making out in the anger group as the men watch with mouths open and wishing them too continue. Too much bad to wade through to get to the meat for me.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Paul Powell, age 48
Negative—Much of the humor in this movie is sexual, continual and offensive. My 14-year-old felt it could have been a good movie, but the humor was extremely embarrassing.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—Cindy, age 43
Negative—As usual, Hollywood takes a humorous plot and ruins it with constant references to men’s genitals, homosexual, transexual themes, and cursing. I am always appalled to see kids under 13 at a PG-13 movie. Even 13 and over should be embarrassed by scenes such as the two lesbians kissing. Jack Nicholson, as the crazed “anger management” psycologist and Sandler as the overwhelmed patient are both funny in many places but don’t waste your money on this one.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—Rhonda, age 52
Negative—I was very excited to see this movie because the previews looked hilarious. I had to walk out after 30 min becuase of the vulgar humor. Honestly, this movie was just plain stupid and every joke had to do with sex or sexuality. Don’t waste your money.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—Matt, age 23
Negative—Though the story line is appealing, and Jack Nicholson nearly perfect in his performance, it’s hard to give a positive recommendation for this film, since the script is permeated with so many sexual jokes, phallic references, lesbian kissing, and other tasteless and immoral conversations. If the believer is committed to obeying Eph. 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” then this movie is not a help to that commitment.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Steve Pruett, age 50
Comments from young people
Negative—This movie is just plain horrible. The amount of objectionable material in this movie is crazy! It seems they tried to make the “dirtiest possible” PG-13 movie. This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I do not reccomend this movie to anyone.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Ryan, age 15