Little Nicky


Directed by: Steven Brill
Written by:Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, Steven Brill
Starring: Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Rhys Ifans, Rodney Dangerfield, Reece Witherspoon
Released: December 26, 2000
Grade: B

Having made cameos in The Wedding Singer and Big Daddy, Steven Brill pulls on the director’s cap in Adam Sandler’s latest mindless comedy, Little Nicky.  Hell is currently in a time of conflict with Satan (Keitel) ready to retire after 10,000 years on the throne.  He has three sons - Adrian (Ifans), Cassius (Tom Lister Jr.) and Nicky (Sandler).  Both Adrian and Cassius dream of the title but Nicky wants nothing to do with it.

When Satan decides to sit for another 10,000 years, Adrian and Cassius are furious.  They ascend to the surface in a plot to overtake and rule Earth.  In doing so, they have blocked the passage that takes people to hell which threatens to destroy it.  In desperation, Satan sends Nicky upworld to try to capture Adrian and Cassius and bring them back to hell to solve the problem.

Things aren’t going to be easy for Nicky as he’s unaccustomed to the human lifestyle.  Led by a talking dog (a friend of his father), he’ll meet a bizarre assortment of characters which each rivalling the last.

Certainly different, Little Nicky is an unusually entertaining film.  Personally, I question its M rating and suggest the censors were a little lenient given the subject material.  I mean would a 14-year-old kid understand why Satan is sticking a large pineapple up Hitler’s ass?  That’s the kind of humour you should expect.

The liveliest part of the film came from the numerous cameos.  Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, Rob Schneider, Quentin Tarantino and Rodney Dangerfield all make surprising appearances.  The best of the bunch was Reece Witherspoon as a “laid-back” angel from heaven who enjoys talking with her friends on her mobile and drinking the odd daiquiri.

Sandler films are an acquired taste and apart from The Wedding Singer, I haven’t been a fan.  It’s tough to see a good comedian limited to the same stupid scripts over and over.  At least Little Nicky is original enough to break some new ground.

Actors like Tom Hanks and Jim Carrey have broken the shackles and moved from comedy to drama but one feels Sandler doesn’t have that ability.  Yet as I speak, Sandler has just signed with one of Hollywood’s leading directors, Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), to star in a top-secret movie.  Given the class of Anderson and the lack thereof from Sander, that will be a movie worth seeing!