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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 Erik Childress

"Sandler's Punchiness Is Still Sweet & Funny"
4 stars

Adam Sandler consequently plays one character over and over again in his movies, a goofy but sweet outsider with an occasional mean streak where he likes to punch the hell out of people. Sandler is no stranger to his lack of cinematic range, and that’s not a slam because he freely admits he’s in it for the fans and that’s what they like to see. If you like that character in question, than you are liable to thoroughly enjoy Mr. Deeds, a sweet-natured comedy that only Sandler’s repertoire could accommodate.

If the title sounds familiar to you, then chances are you’re either familiar with Frank Capra’s 1936 fable, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town with Gary Cooper in the title role or one of the several articles or internet postings ripping a supposedly unqualified goof like Sandler for having the gall to remake such a classic. As modern remakes go, the only thing loose about this one is its 66-years later setting in 2002, a time when the unbridled sentimentality and simplistic moral storytelling of films during the Capra age would barely pass with modern critics. In a time when filmmakers consistently ignore the golden rule to never remake a good movie, Mr. Deeds is actually rather faithful to its source material, albeit with a few more people getting punched.

Sandler adopts the character of Longfellow Deeds this time around from the small town of Mandrake Falls, where instead of passing the time with his tuba, delivers pizza from his own restaurant and churns out greeting cards in hope that Hallmark will someday come-a-calling. A much bigger corporation arrives in town though to inform Deeds that he’s just inherited his uncle’s multimedia conglomerate and only needs to sell his shares for a hefty forty billion dollars.

So it’s off to New York for Deeds, set up in his Uncle’s killer pad and waited on hand and foot (especially foot) by the “sneaky sneaky” butler, Emilio (John Turturro) as he waits for the paperwork to go through. The editor of local tabloid news program Inside Access (Jared Harris) wants an expose at the man behind the money and assigns the driven, but bored Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder) to get the scoop. Posing as a damsel in distress (just as in the original), Babe under the guise of small-town school nurse Mary Dawson, quickly wins the heart of the do-gooder while corporate executive Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher) has nefarious plans for the company.

The laughs in Mr. Deeds are plentiful, never in a clever, witty banter kinda way but also never stooping to just another piece of line-crossing gross-out expose. Sandler is Sandler and he’s always made funnier by his supporting players and in Deeds it begins and ends with two words: John Turturro. If ever an actor tried to take a fluff piece and steal it from everyone, then Turturro is Public Enemy #1. There is not a laugh he fails to get, a line reading he doesn’t nail and a scene where he isn’t welcome. Everyone’s familiar with Turturro’s work in the Coen Bros.’ films, but go check out the drastically overlooked Marx Bros. tribute, Brain Donors, if Deeds leaves you yearning for more laughs from Turturro.

Winona Ryder couldn’t be more charming, again displaying the kind of proficient ability for breezy light comedy that her range has frequently come up lacking in her dramatic roles. It’s only a shame that Peter Gallagher wasn’t written much of a villain, considering his ability to run with quirky comedic parts like that in While You Were Sleeping and American Beauty. While its virtually impossible to knock Christopher McDonald off the perch of the great Sandler villains as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore, its disappointing to see that Gallagher wasn’t even given a fighting chance.

Sandler’s characters always have the heart of gold, but occasionally do the kind of jackass things that all of us only wish we could get away with such as yelling uncontrollably at strangers and kicking the crap out of people that make cracks about us. In Mr. Deeds, Sandler plays his sweetest character to date and is only set-up to look like a jackass by the media telling the public what to think of him. Perhaps this is Sandler’s way of taking the Eddie Murphy/Nutty Professor route by taking shots at the loudmouth persona that made him famous. Or maybe that’s just way too introspective for an Adam Sandler movie.

Sandler’s fans are pretty much already set in stone. His two most notable missteps were The Waterboy and Little Nicky, two films were Sandler chose to take his speech pattern to unimaginable levels of irritation and managed to even annoy his biggest fans. (The fact that The Waterboy is Sandler’s most successful film to date doesn’t change that it’s a one-joke movie.) The detractors who simplify it even further by saying they just “don’t get him” can’t be converted to the knowledge that Sandler’s movies are far more simplified than even that. There’s nothing to “get” and no hidden joke that you may be missing. It’s either funny ha-ha or stonefaced watch-checking. At this point, he’s not going to cull some over from the negative side, although it will be interesting to see how he acquits himself with director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) later this year with “Punch-Drunk Love”. But while the noble quest for new compatriots continues, his old fans can rejoice that Mr. Deeds is a close third behind Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer on Sandler’s list of quality credits. And by quality, I mean the kind that makes you laugh. Period.

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originally posted: 06/28/02 14:44:04
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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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