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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15%
Worth A Look: 16%
Average: 12%
Pretty Bad: 14%
Total Crap43%

6 reviews, 64 user ratings

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Mr. Deeds
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"Adam Sandler Revisits an Old Sitcom Premise - Part 6"
1 stars

I used to be a big defender of Adam Sandler movies. I contend that there’s an intermittently inspired lunacy to Billy Madison, a frat-boy charm to Happy Gilmore, a lot of good-natured sweetness in The Wedding Singer, and a few good dumb gags in The Waterboy. I’ve recommended Sandler’s comedy albums to several friends, and I think the guy had some truly brilliant moments during his tenure on Saturday Night Live. Basically, I’m no highbrow Sandler-basher.

Having said that, it seems that Sandler’s latest effort, the loose remake Mr. Deeds, is an absolutely wretched excuse for a movie. This is pure corporate moviemaking at its most low-concept, and it’s a shocking travesty that this occasionally amusing schlub earns $20 million bucks simply for churning out this cheap-looking, low-grade, cookie-cutter garbage. Sandler’s faithful fans may somehow find something to enjoy in this interminable wasteland, in that all the staples of the Sandler oeuvre - the leading man talking in a wifty little-boy voice, a gaggle of the leading man’s goofball buddies in ‘oh-so-wacky’ supporting roles, a healthy portion of pointless cameos that add nothing to the film, subplots pasted in at random points to help pad out the running time, poorly-directed slapstick sequences, etc. - are dutifully present and accounted for. Those not enamored with the comedian’s work may want to check out Mr. Deeds, if only to replenish your stockpile of disdain.

The blueprint for an Adam Sandler movie seems somewhat redundant. Idiot goes to college, idiot plays golf, idiot sings at weddings, idiot kicks butt on the football field, idiot adopts a kid. The only logical step is...idiot inherits 40 billion dollars – and then watch 'em crank up the formula machine one more time! Ignore the fact that this awful film is based on Frank Capra’s classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. My guess is that the “doofus gets rich” plot was all the producers were after, but that plot was already covered in the 1936 film. No problem; use the same character name, and maybe get a few fans of the original to buy a ticket. (I wouldn’t bet on it!) I almost feel guilty using the word “plot”, but here goes:

Longfellow Deeds is a lovable dolt of a pizzeria owner in a tiny New Hampshire town. When his Great Uncle dies while mountain climbing, Deeds inherits 40 billion bucks and heads out to New York to sign the paperwork. There he meets the predictable gaggle of cardboard cutouts: the evil businessman, the quietly friendly second-in-command, the devious reporter who manipulates Deeds to get her story, etc., etc…. Sorry, I can’t continue. “Good-natured idiot inherits billions, meets a girl, and thwarts bullies.” There’s your plot. I shouldn’t have to do more work than the screenwriters.

Directed with the panache that only the creator of The Mighty Ducks can bring to your project, Mr. Deeds is a poorly made and charmless affair. The movie contains not one solid laugh. Not. One. Mr. Deeds may earn a few mild smirks from the audience, but those may surface due to sheer exhaustion – or simple charity. The stunning lack of quality comedy material is essentially unforgivable, especially considering how much Sandler earns. Why not use 5% of his wildly undeserved paycheck to hire a few screenwriters who can contribute something resembling actual comedy?

Familiar faces pop up all over the place – from John McEnroe to Steve Buscemi to Rob Schneider – and each successive cameo makes you wonder why nobody was given anything FUNNY to do. (Buscemi plays a guy with googly eyes. That’s the whole gag.) The only one putting forth any real effort is John Turturro, who (for some tragic reason) opts to play Deeds’ Spanish butler (who naturally has a foot fetish). As hard as the brilliant character actor tries, he’s given literally nothing to work with. He earns praise simply for trying to breathe some life into this turgid heap. As far as the two leads go, Sandler is employing his full-on Wedding Singer schtick, only with a little of Happy Gilmore’s violent temper. To say any more about his ‘acting’ would be an affront to those who are actually ‘actors’. Winona Ryder is the love interest, and while it’s always nice to see Ms. Ryder onscreen, Mr. Deeds – if nothing else – stands as a testament to her blatant discomfort around a punchline. In other words: funny she ain’t.

Mr. Deeds feels like it was conceived, written, and directed in about two weeks. By any measure of cinema, however generous, this is a terrible movie. Were this Sandler’s first or second foray into big-screen comedy, you could attribute the movie’s ineptitude to something resembling inexperience – but he’s been making the exact same movie for 15 years now, and that’s just insulting. Unfortunately, I still believe that Sandler’s got some brilliant stuff inside, and that’s why I’ll continue to wade through crap like Mr. Deeds. When Sandler decides to disengage this pathetic ‘career autopilot’ he’s mired in, I’ll be the first guy in line to see what he’s offering.

Since I refuse to let this review run longer than the film’s actual screenplay, I’ll wrap things up. The fact that Billy Madison and The Wedding Singer somehow manage to be Sandler’s BEST efforts is a depressingly telling statement. The ‘lovable idiot’ schtick ran dry about three movies go, Mr. Sandler. Isn’t it about time to tear up your “goofball underdog” blueprint and offer moviegoers something at least as amusing as your comedy albums? You can’t pander to 14-year-olds forever.

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originally posted: 06/28/02 13:54:50
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User Comments

6/22/10 RLan An enjoyable romantic comedy 4 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner Sandler makes some great films! 5 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White cute but not Sandlers best 4 stars
5/20/07 fools♫gold Recycled, and/but not well. 1/5 or 2/5 (but better than the new Casino Royale). 1 stars
2/12/07 johnnyfog Tuturro was pretty good though 1 stars
7/08/06 NS It was funny, I like Winona Ryder 4 stars
4/02/06 Dk Good for laughs 3 stars
2/24/06 Anthony Feor Not Sandlers finest hour 3 stars
6/18/05 Jeff Anderson A completely insulting & disgraceful remake to a great film! Unfunny & just plain terrible. 1 stars
6/07/05 JD I like Sandler but this was totally not funny and boring, a waste of time. 1 stars
2/21/05 Dan Funny!!! 5 stars
2/02/05 Charlie Pure Crap, Filtered Crap, Organic Crap... CRAP! 2 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops A nice Adam is not an unfuuny one. 4 stars
7/20/04 Kieran Insted of explainin how crap that revuw woz im just gunna do this: u suck u suck u suck u s 5 stars
2/15/04 Jingo P. Would have been great as a comedy. 1 stars
12/06/03 bender Worst editing ever. Also a very humorless film, save for John Turturro. 2 stars
11/28/03 Samuel A very good film!!! 5 stars
11/11/03 christian gonzales i think the movie is awsome 5 stars
7/20/03 amy Sandlar was brilliant as always!! 4 stars
7/15/03 pero very good movie-well done adam 5 stars
5/22/03 bighead huey how the hell can this dull, tasteless dumass be called a comedian?! 1 stars
5/15/03 Tom Fleeman Not one of Sandlers best, but it still had its moments. 4 stars
3/27/03 Jack Sommersby A passable good time. 3 stars
2/24/03 footlicker tim taylor, please kill yourself. good movie - i also love feet. 4 stars
2/22/03 Jon nothing special 3 stars
1/04/03 artemishia SOMEONE MAKE SANDLER STOOOOPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/04/03 John Aster Habig sandloer should keep herlihy as a writer and stick to romcoms 5 stars
11/24/02 Colin Selby WOEFUL.WHAT WERE THEY THINKING 1 stars
11/19/02 Jeremey Conkle very sneaky sneaky sir! funny as hell!!!! loved this movie 5 stars
11/17/02 Tim Taylor Would rather pound my nut sacks with a hammer, than watch again! 1 stars
11/11/02 Chiendog A river of liquid shit. The best joke is Sandler's $20 million salary(!). 1 stars
11/09/02 Simon Boak Not many films make me laugh out loud, but this one did. 5 stars
11/07/02 Tell Shit Like Shit Is Not farcical enough for Sandler to quite fit in it; Winona steals every scene. 4 stars
10/30/02 Lauren O'Neill it was a spectacular film and i'm one of dams biggest fans 5 stars
10/24/02 Fred Ruiz Sandler is a genius. Macenroe is fucking awesome. 5 stars
10/21/02 Steph Same old Adam Sandler movie formula-him trying to prove himself to a girl he wants to fuck 2 stars
9/20/02 ajay what the hell happened?@! 2 stars
9/17/02 paul johnson i agree totally 1 stars
9/12/02 laron chapman one of adam sandlers funniest films forget what everyone else says. 5 stars
9/10/02 John McNew Sandler's had better days 2 stars
8/29/02 Dean I was hopeing for a funnier film. Same Sandler antics. 1 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) What the fuck are you guys talking about? This was funny as hell! 5 stars
8/18/02 Craig In the afterlife, I hope Gary Cooper beats Sandler's ass! 1 stars
8/04/02 Edler I'd rather drink a bucket of diarhea than sit through this! 1 stars
7/21/02 SpeedDemon It was an awesome movie. Any one who didnt like it is quite dumb. 5 stars
7/19/02 Sklorsh Gets the 2nd star only because I like Sandler. But this movie SUCKED! 2 stars
7/19/02 gary vidmar Sandler is a comedy genius, and this movie proves it! 5 stars
7/16/02 JesseL Worst Adam Sandler movie ever made 1 stars
7/14/02 siro I did not enjoy this film.... 2 stars
7/11/02 Kristen I want a refund! 1 stars
7/09/02 King Richard *grabing groin* I've got your Mr. Deeds right here!! 1 stars
7/09/02 iambubby I give it half a ball-sack... 1 stars
7/08/02 Sheila Evans Fell out of tree? Hooey! She was on trial for shoplifting when her arm got broken! 4 stars
7/08/02 sandy i love adam sandler but this totally sucks! 1 stars
7/08/02 Jennifer So bad and boring that my friend and i got up and left 1 stars
7/05/02 Joe Bacon No words can describe this trip to the Fertilizer Factory 1 stars
7/02/02 Film Guy Not Adam Sandlers best effort At all. 3 stars
6/30/02 Eric Carpenter Terrible Crap. So, normal Sandler fare 1 stars
6/30/02 Sandler hater Adam Sandler sucks!!!! All of his movies are crap. 1 stars
6/29/02 ajay typical sandler, plot sucks balls but the supporting characters are great. 2 stars
6/29/02 Anarchy Azmi watch happy gilmore instead... 1 stars
6/29/02 Veronica Foxx I genuinely like Sandler; many of his movies are good, but enough with this same shit. 3 stars
6/28/02 Law much better than Big Daddy 4 stars
6/28/02 Mr Math Depressingly bad. I used to love Sandler, but he's a fucking sell-out. 1 stars
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  28-Jun-2002 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Steven Brill

Written by
  Tim Herlihy

  Adam Sandler
  Winona Ryder
  Peter Gallagher
  John Turturro
  Jared Harris
  Steve Buscemi

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