Little Nicky Movie Review

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For better or for worse (mostly for the worse) Adam Sandler's back on the big screen. And it's pure, satanic family fun.

Little Nicky (Adam Sandler) is the devil's third---and least impressive---son. Bested in brains by his brother Adrian (Rhys Ifans) and in strength by his brother Cassius (Tiny Lester), Nicky finds little joy outside of hanging out in his hell-bound bedroom, banging his head to heavy metal favorites. That is, until his father's 10,000-year reign draws to a close and it's time to name the new ruler of Hades.

When the devil (Harvey Keitel) decides to continue his rule rather than bequeath the throne to one of his sons, Nicky's relief is palpable. (He knows full well the eternity of wedgies he might otherwise endure.) But Cassius and Adrian are not so agreeable, and they leap through the gates of Hell to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting world above. Now little Nicky must face his fears and unleash the evil within himself to save his father, and the world, from certain doom.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Adam Sandler phenomenon is the actor's wild popularity and box office success, in spite of a pronounced outward stupidity and total inability to act. Not unlike Mike Myers, Sandler is funniest at his absolute lamest extreme. Just as he reaches the zenith of idiocy, his humor becomes surreal and self-referential. He reflects each of us as grade school clowns, spewing milk from our spastic nostrils.

But Sandler's attention to comedic detail betrays a greater intelligence behind his work. As Nicky dons his hellish robes to greet his father, the robe itself is comedy, covered in heavy metal patches for Pantera, Iron Maiden, and the like.

Like any Adam Sandler movie, Little Nicky is a Saturday Night Live reunion, pulling cast members from as far back as the early eighties. The very first scene features Jon Lovitz peeping in on a panty-clad woman, Kevin Nealon stars as the boob-headed gatekeeper of Hell, Dana Carvey (as part of a carefully orchestrated--and probably doomed--comeback) appears as a possessed basketball referee, and the list goes on. What's more impressive is the caliber of Sandler's supporting cast, which includes Quentin Tarantino and Michael McKean in minor roles, and cameos by Ozzy Osborne, Henry Winkler, and Regis Philben. Make no mistake; these are not great performances. But these self-effacing appearances lend a depth and clarity to the film's humor that will assure it a place in cult history.

Ultimately, Little Nicky is a very stupid movie. And that's just the way we like it.

If you really like stupid stuff (and hey, this was the movie that New Line blamed its financial woes on), you'll love the Little Nicky DVD, which -- among a copious number of extras -- features 21 deleted/extended/alternate scenes -- including a slightly different ending plus one priceless outtake where the "girl dog" tries to mount Mr. Beefy. One documentary goes over the making of the film, one is a 17-minute discussion of heavy metal(???). For the Sandler-obsessed, two feature-length commentary tracks give you all the Little Nicky you could want, and more.

Nice rack.

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Little Nicky Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG-13, 2000

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