Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Really That Bad: Little Nicky

You know I like both Jim Sterling and Moviebob and thought why not combine two of their best series. Really That Bad, where in I defend Hollywood's so called stinkers. I can't say this will be a series but a lot of these have been rolling around in my head lately so let's go.

And because its topical and I want some sweet sweet clicks lets hit it.

Okay first off let me admit straight up that I haven't seen most of the (recent) bad Adam Sandler movies. For a really long time The Waterboy was one of my favorite movies.  What can I say. I was a bullied nerd in middle school with a lot of revenge fantasies and Bobby Boucher helped scratch that itch in film.

Did I mention it brought back The Fonz. AYEEEE (Snap).

And going back his films before that are solid comedy gold not to mention his time on SNL. It kind of irks me that people especially think nothing good has come out of this guy.

Heck even in recent years Funny People was one of the most somber yet funny movies I had seen in a long time and above all else it felt honest.  

Oh my god I'm Seth Rogen. When did that happen?

Anyway a lot of people chart THE SUCKING to Little Nicky. And while I softened on the movie at the time I loved it.

Almost everything everybody hated in Little Nicky they loved about The Waterboy and while you may have some too cool for school cats who dislike The Waterboy now realize the truth of their similarities, I was there in the late 90's and on the ground most of my peers juvenile  as we may have been really did get a kick out of it when it was rerun to death on TBS and TNT in the days before Netflix.

Adam Sandler affectation wasn't too far off from the Forest Gump stuff Tom Hanks had done before but this time added to a zany sports comedy that could go full throttle.  Not only that but the movie had one hell of a comedic cast to add to it all. Kathy Bates generally throws herself into whatever role she's got going and isn't afraid to mug with the best of them. And to this day the woman has pitch perfect comedic timing.

Nobody plays nuts like Fairuza Balk.

Henry Winkler  and Jerry Reed, come on. If the internet had existed in the 70's somebody would have written that fanfic.

Not to mention the script and story structure were tight as well. Why wouldn't it be it's basically satirizing the old structure of the sports movie by making most of it's major players no pun intended kind of nuts. Seriously The Waterboy is Rudy if Rudy wasn't so sanctimonious, if well, if it didn't have its head up its ass.

The Waterboy was a well oiled comedy machine. In short for me at least The Waterboy is one of those once in a million all the elements came together to make one hell of a movie...movies.

And why did I spend all that time talking about The Waterboy. Well I said it before. Almost everything people hate about Little Nicky was there in The Waterboy it's just that Little Nicky is a much less well executed movie.

Instead of putting its stunt cast celebrities in places where they can use there various personas to advance the plot here they are pointless filler and "how did they get that guy" cameo gags.

The wink and a nod how much will the studio let us get away with humor of previous happy Madison movies was cranked up as Sandler got more power. Rather than making the movies feel raw (Eddie Murphy style... Pluto Nash is on my list) it made them feel juvenile.

Or to put it another way there is a thin line between laid back guys at a bar humor and that annoying kid who's trying to sound like those guys humor and Little Nicky is the film that crossed it.

All the same whereelse am I going to find an actually pretty likable Satan shoving a pineapple up Hitler's bunghole.  That is to say while the movie is flawed when it works it does work in particular Harvey Keitelis a really compelling devil and his laid back hey it's a living and somebody has to deal with these asshats hell is kind of funny, and Rhys Ifans can do the traditional ham in a way that manages to be both menacing and funny ... as long none of the actors have to spout plot stuff.

And that's really where most of the movie falls apart. Whereas The Waterboy managed to somehow be able to pull the earnest thing off largely because it was borrowing so much from the Rudy playbook, Little Nicky... can't. Whenever the characters have to talk about the story's stakes the actors seem bored and lifeless, but when slinging the jokes, especially the New York centric ones things pick up.

Or to put it another way this movie actually does the offspring of the devil tooling around on earth kind of decently and a lot of movies and tv shows since have actually managed to make that sort of thing work and take it further.

Seriously The Devil is a Part Timer is basically Little Nicky  or at least it's plot but good.

That having been said in order for any other characters actions to make any sort of sense they have to not realize the guy who snores like a bear, head turns 360 degrees, has glowing red eyes, and greets people by licking them is an average joe.


It's an idiot plot. But let's be honest a lot of comedies are.

Okay I'm not doing a good job of defending it so I'll repeat myself. When the movie is just the son of Satan hanging around a bunch of stoners, dealing with his roommate and tooling around NYC it's kind of endearing if not laugh out loud funny but that couldn't be the whole movie there had to be this thing called plot.

Which gets especially nuts in the third act where said plot has to kick in to high gear. Like I said when the movie has actually stakes is when it stops being as endearing so yeah the last half hour or so is pretty groan worthy but even so brushes up against so insane you kind of have to respect it. The big good that saves the balance between good and evil is...

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