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Adam Sandler plays a businessman who is wrongly sentenced to an anger-management program, where he meets an aggressive instructor played by Jack Nicholson
First off, this is one of the best movie posters in the history of Hollywood marketing. New movie star VS veteran movie star mano oh mano facing off against each other. These could also be two of the most polarizing faces in Hollywood leading man history too.
The pairing of these two stars came as to quite a shock to the world. But Jack Nicholson is probably one of the most savvy actors in the history of the 20th century. This is an actor who's star has never faltered ever since he rose to the mainstream with Easy Rider in 1969. Doing Anger Management is all part of his plan. He teams up with a rising comedic actor who seems to do know wrong according to box office numbers, while also sticking to his post-911 promise that he would only make comedies for awhile.
Adam Sandler plays the lead in Anger Management. A straight man pushover who needs to get some balls in order for himself to be happy again and prove his worth to his girlfriend.
The message in this film is about letting out your true emotions in order to be happy. The irony in this film is that Sandler's character really is an angry guy, eventhough he doesn't show any anger. He let's it all in and this is not a good thing. This is a good theme to showcase to the Hollywood audience as many people are probably good people but cowards who really do need to get some balls. And maybe Anger Management can help them out.
OK, I know what most people are thinking. This is just a stupid Adam Sandler comedy that happens to have Jack Nicholson in it too. But there's more to it in his films and if you go back and check off his prior and future body of work, they are always trying to say something. I'm sure every single film critic with any clout hated this film, but they are looking at it too literally. Well, that's just my opinion.
Yes, Anger Management is a movie made to make us laugh and appeal to the masses. But take a quick look at this film as there's something more to it.
Most therapists will say that the definition of EVIL is laziness and narcissism. Being a coward and holding in your true feelings is a form of laziness (not pushing through your fears) and narcissism too (not telling your inner truths for the sake of worrying about yourself). So this is a film that's telling potential evil people how to not go down the dark side.
Of course I'm reading into it a little too much, but hanging around with many professional (and talented) screenwriters in my day, this is what they really think about when writing comedy.
Comedy is a mixture of laughter and sadness. In order to get an extreme laugh, there must be a little sadness involved. Think back to your favorite funny scenes in the history of film. Or just analyze a great standup comedy bit. It's all about making a very sad think very funny. And the more sad that thing is, the more potential is has to be very funny. This is Adam Sandler's grammar and what he's a master at. He's great at being a sad/nice guy who the audience immediately likes. So we're set to laugh at or with him at a moment's notice. And Jack, what can I say. He's Jack! This is a man who keeps on rolling 40+ years in the industry. He's a movie star, no matter how old he gets. He's got that magic gift called charm and people respond to him no matter what.
Funny thing about this film too is that it's written solely by David Dorfman. A rarity in the comedic world as there's usually 2-4 screenwriters credited on a screenplay these days. And this seems to be as of this writing his only hit screenplay. Maybe he's a one hit wonder ala the screenwriter for Reality Bytes who was never heard from again.
So go take a look at Anger Management again and enjoy the ride. And forget what the critics think. I'm a film critic for a living who generally watches every Hollywood movie that comes out. Some I like, some I don't like. But what does my opinion really mean anyway?
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