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Little Nicky (September 25/01)

Generally, there are two types of Adam Sandler comedies: Those in which he speaks with an unusual voice (The Waterboy) and those in which he speaks normally (The Wedding Singer). Little Nicky falls under the former category and essentially represents the worst of the Sandler comedies. It's occasionally funny, though never as hilarious as Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison, and the whole thing just seems over-produced. It's as if Sandler had finally received this huge budget and felt the need to ensure that every penny was accounted for in the final product (from the lavish sets to the stunt casting of Harvey Keitel as Sandler's father, subtlety just doesn't exist within Little Nicky).

Sandler stars as Little Nicky, the son of Satan (Keitel). Nicky's face is permanently contorted into this bizarre half-grin due to being beaten with a shovel by his brother. This causes him to speak with this lisp/grating accent that is so irritating, so obnoxious, it almost completely destroys the film before it's halfway through the first reel. After his two evil brothers embark on a quest to rule earth, Nicky must follow them and capture them or else souls will no longer be admitted into Hell and his father will die. While on earth, he befriends a shy geek (Patricia Arquette) and slowly discovers what being human is all about.

There are a few minor laughs scattered throughout the flick (the funniest scene has got to be, hands down, the Regis cameo - if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about), but there's no Happy Gilmore-esque belly-laughs. The biggest problem is that unlike his earlier movies, Sandler's chosen to bring us a world that's completely alien (unless, of course, you routinely make daytrips to Hell), so it's hard to relate to anything (and thus find anything funny). The funniest comedies are that way because they take something out of reality and contort it to outlandish levels. But some of the cameos are fun (particularly Jon Lovitz as The Peeper) and the performances unexpectedly good (Rhys Ifans as Sandler's brother steals most of his scenes).

Little Nicky is entertaining and diverting enough to warrant a recommendation (towards a rental, if you haven't seen it).

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