Directed by Steven Brill.
Written by Tim Herlihy. Based on the 1936 film "Mr. Deeds
Goes to Town."
Starring Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder and John Turturro.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 7/1/02
You know, I still remember when I saw my
first Adam Sandler film. My roommate Rob told me that “Happy
Gilmore” was on TV one night while we were at college, and I
remember thinking, “Shit. I’m sure that is going to be one of the
worst films of all time.” But, everyone else in my apartment was
watching it, so I stuck around and watched the thing from beginning
I think I laughed at almost every single
Man, “Happy Gilmore” surprised the hell out
of me. Sure, it was dumb fun, but it was good dumb fun, aided
immeasurably by cameos by just two people: Bob Barker, in his
hilarious fight scene with Sandler on the golf course (“The price is
wrong, bitch!”)...and, one of the funniest cameos of all time, Ben
Stiller as the violent male nurse (“Sure...I can get you a glass of
Shut the Hell Up!!”). Plus there are a half-dozen other
fall-out-of-your-seat funny scenes and a good number of
Why have none of Sandler’s other movies been
able to capture this magic? I went back and saw “Billy Madison”;
average. “The Wedding Singer” had some good laughs. But, “The Waterboy”, “Big Daddy” and—ugh—“Little Nicky” have been nowhere near
the talent level of “Happy Gilmore.” Oh, and did I forget
“Bulletproof”? I’m sure that you did!
Sadly, “Mr. Deeds” follows the trend of his
last three films, as Sandler plays another dimwit with middling
success. And, the quality of the jokes and talent around Sandler
pales in comparison to his other films. This time around, Sandler
plays Deeds, a New Hampshire pizza shop owner that finds out his
uncle left him a fortune of $40 billion in stock from the uncle’s
vast media empire. Upon traveling to New York City to claim his
fortune, Deeds meets a beautiful nurse (Winona Ryder) that happens
to really be a reporter for a tabloid TV show trying to expose what
an idiot this Deeds guy really is. Along the way, Deeds makes quite
an impression on those stereotypically stuck-up Manhattanites by
saving a woman from a burning building, giving money to the homeless
and putting the star quarterback of the New York Jets in his place
by chastising him for cursing with women in the room.
The plot is served warm at a buffet full of
bullshit, as Sandler makes his way through dialogue that features
ten words or less at almost every turn. Ryder seems to be trying
her hardest with material that is beneath her; when was the last
time she was in a good film? John Turturro (of all people!)
co-stars as Deeds’ personal assistant, and he has just enough funny
lines to save this film from Hard Vice-dom. But, why is the gifted
Turturro in this film? You don’t expect a regular veteran of the
Coen Brothers’ films and Spike Lee Joints to be in a sophomoric teen
...but then again, what the hell is Steve
Buscemi doing in “Mr. Deeds”? Baffling!! Maybe these guys go way
back with Sandler or something, because their presence here is
shocking. “Mr. Deeds” is made worse by a bad script and a
soundtrack written by a middle-school student. Luckily, there are a
couple laughs thanks to Turturro, a cameo by John McEnroe, and a
hilarious sequence featuring a dad, his son, and a leather belt.
None of this is worth the trip, though, so skip this one if you
hadn’t already planned too!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard