Anger Management

Anger Management


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Dave Buznik is not an angry person. That's the first part of the joke. The second part is that crazy shrink Dr Rydell makes him one. He calls it therapy.

Either this is a vehicle for Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson to fool around each other, or it's a series of sketches that paint an abstract picture. There are those who laugh at Sandler and there are those who find him buttock-clenchingly embarrassing. The latter won't be watching this. The former will do, encouraged by a poster of the two men screaming in each other's faces, but might find the script wayward and inconsistent.

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Sandler is playing his socially inept, half-baked character again, while Nicholson plays himself. Dave has a hang-up about kissing girls in public and is treated like carpet fluff in the office, not that he would ever complain. How he ends up in court for attacking an air stewardess on an internal flight is beyond belief. He couldn't attack a bee if it crawled out of his jam sandwich.

Dr Rydell runs an anger management clinic, where John Turturro, Luis Guzman, a couple of lesbians and a guy who looks like an ex-quarterback sit around in a circle talking about their short fuses. Turturro is on one level of rage. It doesn't matter what the issue, he'll be furious about it. Guzman is more easy-squeezy, queening it up something rotten. Later, John McEnroe joins the group and has a shouting match with the good doctor.

Stars drop by to contribute choice cameos. Woody Harrelson plays a seductive Scandinavian transvestite, who comes on strong to Dave in a taxi, and Heather Graham does the same in a bar, only to take him home and lose control with a chocolate cake. John C Reilly, as Dave's childhood nemesis who has become a Buddhist monk, is uncharacteristically drawn into a scene of violence. Ex-New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani is called upon to contribute to the sentimental ending, which he does with the ease of a true professional.

Are these celebrities parachuted in to take pressure off the Sandler/Nicholson axis, or do they simply want to be associated with an Adam Sandler picture? Nicholson tends to dominate with the sheer force of his personality, despite Rydell's incomprehensible behaviour. Dave is sparkless. That's the point of him. Rydell is there to switch him on, because girlfriend Linda (Marisa Tomei) can't manage it.

Do you care whether this apologetic man loses his temper and discovers an assertiveness he didn't realise he possessed? Frankly, no.

Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2003
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A businessman attends anger management sessions with comic consequences.
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Director: Peter Segal

Writer: David Dorfman

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, Lynne Thigpen, John Turturro, Woody Harrelson, Allen Covert

Year: 2003

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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