Directed by: Steven Brill
Written by:Tim Herlihy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Jared Harris, Peter Gallagher
Released: August 22, 2002
Grade: C

Reviews mean very little when it comes to talking about Adam Sandler movies.  Some people will always love him no matter what.  As long as he’s its a screwball comedy, they’re more than happy to laugh at his dumb jokes.  Just take a look at how many times his earlier films Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore have been shown on TV.  It seems like every second week.

I’ve liked Sandler is some movies but am a little tougher as a critic.  My personal favourite was The Wedding Singer but it’s still not a film I’d class in any elite category.  A regular comedian, he’s gotten a huge break with his film stardom but I’m sure he isn’t making the most of his opportunities.  In each film, he just seems to get dumber and dumber.

Jim Carrey goofed around in films like Ace Ventura and Liar Liar but used these films as a platform to take on more challenging roles in The Truman Show and Man On The Moon.  Both films won Carrey a Golden Globe and it proved he has what it takes as both a comedic and dramatic actor.  His career will be better for it.

Now I don’t know what Adam Sandler’s career aspirations are but he hasn’t come a long way in the last few years.  About twelve months ago, I heard Sandler was to try his first serious role in a film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, a favourite director of mine who made Boogie Nights and Magnolia.  The film was to be called Punch Drunk Love and it became pretty much the number one film on my list to see in 2002.

The reason no one has heard of the film is because there has been a delay in its release.  Looking to be an early 2003 release in Australia, the film premiered back in May at the Cannes Film Festival and everyone was talking about how great Sandler was.  Anderson shared the top prize for best director of the festival.  If possible, I now want to see this film even more.

As I wait, I am forced to watch mediocre efforts like Mr. Deeds.  Sandler as Longfellow Deeds is not funny but Winona Ryder is unbearable to watch.  She’s probably just doing what the screenplay asks of her but her role as Sandler’s girlfriend, Pam Dawson is way too serious.  This is a comedy, nor a romantic drama!  If you think I’ll give a damn when Pam breaks up with Deeds and is seen crying at the bottom of her staircase, you’d be ignorantly mistaken.

Saving the film from total annihiliation are the small roles given to Deeds’ butler, played by Jon Turturo, and a friend played by Steve Buscemi.  They share all the spotlight and giving Buscemi the final line in the film is proof that despite having about 1/20th the screen time of Sandler, he is the real star.  Both Turturo and Buscemi have appeared together before and if you’re looking for a good video that’s only getting better with age, try The Big Lebowski.

With all that said, it’s a judgment call if you want to take this one on.  But ain’t offering any money back guarantees.