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Anger Management (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by director Peter Segal and Adam Sandler; 4 deleted scenes; 'My Buddy Jack' featurette; 'Skull Session' featurette; Do You Have Anger Problems? game; Theatrical trailer; Easter eggs; Gag reel.

JACK Nicholson and Adam Sandler may sound like unlikely bedfellows, but their partnership provides some great onscreen chemistry (not to mention fireworks) in the entertaining comedy, Anger Management.

While not as laugh-out-loud funny as either its trailer or poster campaign suggests, Peter Segal’s film remains a guilty pleasure, poking fun at some obvious targets and frequently aiming at the easy chuckle in every situation, but providing an undemanding viewing experience.

And much of its allure lies in the central pairing, with Nicholson playing it madder than ever, and Sandler’s passive-aggressive gradually building to the moment he unleashes his trademark fury - just as he did to equally winning effect in this year’s Punch-Drunk Love.

Sandler stars as mild-mannered Dave Buznik, who is ordered to attend some aggressive anger management therapy, after an hilarious misunderstanding aboard an airplane.

Unfortunately, his counsellor is the unorthodox Doctor Buddy Rydell (Nicholson), who seems in need of his own medicine, and who subsequently moves in with Buznik in an attempt to confront his inner demons, but instead pushes him to the brink of madness instead.

Buznik suffers from implosive anger and a fear of public displays of affection, stemming from a childhood humiliation, but as Rydell pushes him to the limits, by turning his life upside down and threatening his relationship with his girlfriend, Linda (Marisa Tomei), he is forced to decide whether to continue accepting his hardship, or finally make a stand for himself.

And while the outcome is never really in doubt, there is plenty of fun to be had in arriving there, with Nicholson and Sandler forming an excellent oddball partnership.

As part of his therapy, Buznik is asked to avoid angry music, such as The Carpenters, becomes teamed with an equally-aggressive ‘anger ally’ - in the form of John Turturro’s hilariously insecure Chuck - and confront his past tormentors by pummelling the hell out of a Buddhist monk - not to mention singing the Bernstein/Sondheim number, ‘I’m So Pretty’, in the middle of Brooklyn Bridge, at the height of the morning rush hour.

Aside from the central pairing between the two leads, Anger Management also provides a strong support cast and a whole host of cameos, ranging from Heather Graham and Woody Harrelson (in drag) to John McEnroe and former New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani - all of whom serve to keep things lively.

It’s just a shame that Segal’s movie can’t sustain the momentum throughout and drifts into the type of mawkish sentimentality that besets so many of Sandler’s Happy Madison films - with the final scene, in particular, feeling unnecessary and tacked on.

Those expecting a full-on, 90-minute laugh-athon may also feel a little short-changed, as it is safe to say that the best bits are in the trailer, but that shouldn’t detract from a suitably wicked comedy that showcases two stars at the peak of their form.

Jack, in particular, seems to be having a hyperactive blast, and his energy transfers well to the audience.

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