Eye For Film >> Movies >> Mr Deeds (2002) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Adam Sandler keeps saying, "Call me Deeds," like John Thaw always said, "Call me Morse." Are surnames more personal when used on their own? Or less threatening?
The point about Deeds - Mr Longfellow Deeds to you - is that he is pathologically nice. He runs a pizza parlour in Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire, where everybody likes everybody.
One day, two men in suits arrive from New York and tell him he's inherited $40 billion from a relative he didn't know. The sum is so beyond the realms of understanding that he can't grasp it. All he wants is Hallmark to accept one of his greeting card poems. His horizons do not extend beyond his intelligence, which is desperately shallow. Deeds is a good man, but a stupid one. Because of it, he stands small in a crowd.
He flies to the Big Apple, where the inhabitants are out to exploit him, especially the suits who want to get their hands on his stocks and Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), a tabloid TV reporter, who pretends to be a children's nurse to cop an exclusive.
The film is based on Mr Deeds Goes To Town, a 1936 weep-U-like, in which Gary Cooper showed up the city folk for their arrogance and greed. Frank Capra won an Oscar as Best Director. If you watch it now, the sentimentality might rot your brain.
Sandler's version is more childish and less memorable. B-famous names - John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, John McEnroe - drop by to proffer style bites in what is otherwise as bland as a biscuit. Ryder discovers a talent for comedy to go with her talent for everything else, not that it matters because this is Sandler's gig and he'll do what he wants.
In the end, it is a question of taste. Either this is Capra refried, or Sandler on toast. Fans of Happy Gilmour will be disappointed, while The Waterboy groupies won't mind a bit.Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2002