Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Retro Review: Little Nicky

 Little Nicky is the only Adam Sandler film I've ever seen. While it's true that I have seen Funny People and Punch-drunk Love (and, to a lesser degree, Airheads and Coneheads, part of the unfulfilled "Adam Sandler in Movies with the Word 'Head' Trilogy"), Little Nicky is the only Sandler vehicle that Cap'n ever sat through. I know, it's strange: somehow I missed Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, or Grown Ups.

 Honestly, I was a little surprised that Happy Madison had anything to do with Judd Apatow's Funny People: Sandler's production company is almost always associated with movies that nobody I know ever sees - The Zookeeper, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Grandma's Boy, and The Hot Chick*. Happy Madison also released Jack & Jill, a movie that recently nominated for twelve Golden Raspberry Awards, which is nearly a record and is odd, because the film is only eligible in ten categories.

 Jack & Jill is actually the reason I thought of Little Nicky, not because I'm going to watch the former (which, if this is in any way true, might not be a movie but instead a scam) , but it reminded me that I HAVE actually seen an "Adam Sandler Joint" and I kind of liked it.

 Little Nicky is, by no means, a good movie. I can remember so little of it after nearly twelve years that I'm surprised recalled the film at all. Basically it has something to do with Lucifer (Rodney Dangerfield), Satan (Harvey Keitel), and Satan's three kids: Cassius (Tiny Lister, Jr.), Adrian (Rhys Ifans), and Nicky (Sandler). Nicky has a speech impediment and the other brothers like to pick on him, but Satan wants him to take over Hell, or something. Then he decides not to, so Adrian and Cassius freeze the entrance to Hell and go to Earth to take over, and Nicky has to save him. That, and something about putting boobs on Kevin Nealon's head.

 There's a talking dog and Patricia Arquette and some flask that collects souls, but mostly what I remember is that Nicky is actually half-demon, half-angel because his mother is Reese Witherspoon (Reese Witherspoon), erm, Holly. She gives him some ultimate weapon of goodness or something, which turns out to be Ozzy Osbourne (you see what they did there? It gets better, because Adrian turns into a bat. I wonder what happens?).

 Little Nicky has lots of shenanigans and jokes about evil, but mostly lots of advertisements for Popeye's Chicken. Seriously. At one point, a demon tries a bucket and says "Popeye's Chicken is the shiznit!" Actually, see it for yourself:


  I had no idea that this was a trend in Happy Madison films - arbitrary and shameless product placement, but Popeye's Chicken is hard to miss in Little Nicky. As I haven't seen the film since I watched it for free at the theatre I used to work for, I can't remember why I liked it. Describing it in this review, I'm not sure I did like it, but I do know I spent the better part of the fall of 2000 doing a Little Nicky impersonation for no good reason. It was funny to me, I guess (the impersonation, not the movie).

 Maybe Little Nicky does suck, and I thought that it sucked so much that it stopped sucking and became awesome. It's the sort of thing that hipsters do all the time now: ironically appreciating everything bad. I don't think I was being ironic though: considering some of the shit I'd been watching that year (The In Crowd, Loser, Bless the Child, Blair Witch 2, Hollow Man), it could be that Little Nicky was a breath of fresh air. That the film was vaguely watchable compared to the likes of Lost Souls is enough to push it into "I liked it" territory.

 Would I still like it? Um... well... let's all say it's one of life's unanswered questions. Because that's not going to happen. Happy Madison and I have reached a cease-fire: I don't watch their shitty movies, and accordingly don't report to you how horrible they are. That's the job of literally every other masochistic reviewer out there. I'm plenty busy watching Saw IV, V, and VI in one weekend, but that is another story...

* Strange Wilderness is, I have been reminded by IMDB, a Happy Madison film, but is a Steve Zahn vehicle and does not, to my recollection, feature Adam Sandler in any capacity. And I never finished Joe Dirt.

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