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Anger Management - Feature



Preview by: Jack Foley

Temper is the one thing you can't get rid of by losing it - Dr Buddy Rydell

JACK Nicholson has played mad before (just think of his harrowing turn in The Shining), but seldom for out-and-out laughs, and his pairing with Adam Sandler might not have been something that most movie buffs could have predicted.

But in Anger Management, he plays a psychiatrist (Doctor Buddy Rydell), assigned to counsel Adam Sandler’s mild-mannered Dave Buznik following a misunderstanding on board an aeroplane, who proceeds in tearing his life apart with the most radical form of therapy.

For Sandler, however, the character of Dr Rydell had Nicholson written all over it, because ‘I tried to imagine Buddy as someone who made me feel nervous at times and comfortable at other times, and I immediately thought of Jack’.

"As I continued reading and imagining Jack in the role, I laughed even harder, which made it more fun to read. And then, he actually said ‘yes’," he explained.

"Jack brings legitimacy to the role to Doctor Buddy Rydell because, in his attention to detail, he sounds like a therapist and embodies Buddy’s philosophy," says the film’s director, Peter Segal. "But he also brings that menacing edge that is innately Jack, which plays against all the caring qualities you expect from a reputable therapist."

Not only did Nicholson bring his persona and precise sense of character to bear on Doctor Rydell, he also brought the same kind of attention to the overall structure of the story.

"Jack was involved in helping us shape not only his character but providing ideas and jokes that made the whole film funnier," says executive producer, Allen Covert, who also portrays Andrew, Dave’s rival for the affections of his girlfriend Linda (Marisa Tomei).

Nicholson’s suggestions gave the comedy additional resonance, according to Sandler.

"The audience laughs at the funny stuff, but they also laugh when the story fools them, when it shakes them up."

Coming from two distinct disciplines, the mesh between Sandler and Nicholson proved to be ideal.

"There was an immediate chemistry between them," says Covert.

"The combo of the concept and the casting is a dream come true," adds Segal. "Anytime I describe Anger Management – ‘It’s a comedy about a guy played by Adam Sandler who has to take anger management classes. And Jack Nicholson is the therapist,’ – the reaction is immediate. Everyone says the same thing: ‘I’m there.’"

So how exactly did Nicholson approach Doctor Rydell?

"One thing we talked about was bringing an off-balance sense to the audience’s perception of Buddy," says Segal, "so they’d constantly be asking themselves if he is really a good therapist or maybe a bit insane and dangerous. The more he kept the audience guessing, the better he thought the story would be."

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