Anger Management


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"You'll want to kick the $*#&@! out of anyone who tries to keep you from seeing this film."


Anger Management
The Masked Reviewer

Many of us, in today's fast-paced eat-out rush-hour world, find ourselves like the mailman with a snarling Dachshund chomping on his crotch -- getting a bit testy.  Whether it's waiting for the salesman that's not paying attention to us, or the telemarketer who calls during dinner, or even the jerk-weed driving the 1997 gray Ford Thunderbird with vanity plates that cuts us off while talking on his cell phone because he can't be bothered to check his mirror before swerving across three lanes.  Any of those things can lead to anger.  And anger is a subject that is dealt with in Columbia's Anger Management

Jack Nicholson stars in this film.  And there's no avoiding it: if you like Jack Nicholson, you'll very likely love him in this film.  It's pure Jack.  It drips with Jack.  You can feel yourself sopping up his oozing charisma.  He delivers every line with a kind of joy that is a pleasure to watch.  He has a kind of comedic delivery and timing that seems to be very much Jack being Jack, and it's just fun to watch him.  His appeal is very strong in this film. 

The film isn't exactly a subtle comedy, but for the most part it refrains from being obvious or stupid.  It's a comedy that's built on characters, rather than site gags and puns, and that's what lets Jack shine.  And, again for the most part, the characters are fun and well developed.  There's a plot that gets us from the beginning to the end of the movie, and while it's fine...who cares?  It's just a love-fest, a chance to spend 100 minutes marveling at one man's enormous charisma.

Oh, and Adam Sandler is in the film too. 

Sandler is actually the main character, but he shares most of his screen time with Nicholson.  Sandler is as good in this film as any other he's ever been in -- some may see this as faint praise, but the Masked Reviewer was greatly impressed with Sandler's work in Anger Management.  Not only was he able to share the screen with Jack and not disappear into the scenery, but he was subtle and funny and a great compliment to Nicholson.  Those of you who enjoyed Sandler in The Wedding Singer will undoubtedly love his work in this.  He does get to indulge in a bit of his trademark wackiness, including a little singing and a bit of yelling. 

Anger Management also features a number of great supporting performances, but many of these are nice cameos that are fun to experience for yourself, so in keeping with the Masked Reviewer's policies, those won't be spoiled here. 

The only weak spot was Marisa Tomei as Sandler's girlfriend.  The character wasn't badly acted, but there wasn't much to the part and she seemed more like a plot device than someone we'd want to get to know.  This jumps out, because Marisa Tomei has been someone the Masked Reviewer would really like to get to know (if you know what I mean).  It's also noticeable because hers is about the only character that isn't very captivating.  Of course, Marisa shouldn't take this as a harsh criticism, she herself is quite charming, and she does have an Oscar(tm), so she'll be fine.

There are a couple of goofy moments that some people might poo-poo, but others will laugh out loud.  The film does at one point feature an animal wearing people's clothing, and that is always funny (in fact, it's a documented rule of comedy).  There were also some nice jabs at anger management therapy, but nothing over the top or over done.  It's an interesting mix, but it's definitely more like The Wedding Singer  than The Waterboy.  And that's a good thing.  Jack's performance is a bit reminiscent of his work as the Joker in Batman.  Crazy and fun to watch.

If your only exposure to Adam Sandler is in his goofy films like The Waterboy, Little Nicky, or Happy Gilmore -- or worse yet, his cameos in Rob Schneider vehicles like The Animal or The Hot Chick -- then you should give him the benefit of the doubt and see Anger Management.  If you saw (and hated) Airheads and The Wedding Singer, you might not like this film, but even if you have some kind of sick personal vendetta against Adam Sandler, you'd still probably like this film for Jack.  If you don't like Jack...well...there's probably a tour of a box factory somewhere that'd you'd find quite fulfilling.

Nothing is more soothing than a good comedy, and Anger Management should be court-mandated self-help for everyone.  You'll need Anger Management if you don't see this movie, then you'll punch a hole in someone's head.  Sandler and Nicholson will leave you angry that the movie ends.  But you'll manage. 

You'll want to kick the $*#&@! out of anyone who tries to keep you from seeing this film. 

Official website:

Expectation from the Title: The story of John Anger and his theatrical management firm.   Yeah, well, they can't all be gems, you know.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Jack Nicholson has a lovely smile and it's good to see him giving that nice Jewish boy some work after that horrible Eight Crazy Nights cartoon.

The Pros: One hundred percent pure Jack.  It's Jacked up.  Sandlerific, too.

The Cons: It seemed like there might be nudity, but then there wasn't any.  On an unrelated note, Marisa Tomei wasn't put to full use.


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