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After a misunderstood airplane altercation, mild-mannered and non-confrontational executive assistant Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is put in the care of anger management therapist Dr Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson). As Dave meets the highly volatile and unpredictable patients in his class, he is bewildered by Buddy’s unorthodox, confrontational approach to therapy, and subsequently horrified when Buddy moves in with him. Dave’s poet girlfriend, Linda (Marisa Tomei), patiently waits for things to get back on track, but Buddy has other ideas.

Review by Louise Keller:
Anger Management has all the ingredients for a brilliant situation comedy zinging with originality and outright audaciousness, but I’m gritting my teeth and quietly chanting ‘goosefraba’, because it never makes the grade. (Goosefraba is an old Eskimo word, but you’ll have to see the film to learn more.) Sure, there are some insanely wild ideas and a few funny moments, but it ends up as a pretty mediocre and disappointing affair. Especially as watching Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in action has to be some kind of Endorphin Treat in itself. But everything is overdone and many scenes that should have us aching with uncontrollable laughter, fall as flat as the fried eggs that Dr Buddy hurls onto the kitchen floor. But before Buddy hurls the eggs (that’s after he has moved in with poor old Dave, who resorts to sleeping on the floor with his girlfriend’s teddy bear), we join the Anger Management Group and meet some of Buddy’s other loony patients including John Turturro’s psycho, Luiz Guzman’s flamboyant Lou and the scene stealing, slinky lesbian duo who love threesomes but not as much as they love each other. Then there’s a seemingly non-stop torrent of top Hollywood talent like John C. Reilly as the former bully, now-converted Buddhist monk, Woody Harrelson’s sleezy German transvestite from Lichensiedichen, and Heather Graham’s divinely fat-obsessed weirdo. Even John McEnroe pops up for a brief, very funny (and for once, not overdone) moment. Marisa Tomei’s Linda is wonderfully normal and spontaneous and acts like a sanity-barometer; Tomei is consistently good all the time. 

The best thing about Anger Management is its unpredictability. That’s what manages to keep us on edge, and whether it is the madness of the scene when Buddy gets Dave to sing West Side Story’s ‘I Feel Pretty’ while stationary on a bridge in the midst of peak hour traffic, or the inspired scenes with a ginger cat wearing fat-suits (don’t ask!), there is a certain delight in trying to make out where this lunacy is going. Needless to say, the course of true love never runs smoothly, and if you thought the proposal scene in The Wedding Planner was memorable, wait for this most extravagantly produced one, before a scene of thousands. And just when you think the whole harebrained plot has gone totally to pot, there’s a crazy turn-around, and a resolution that kinda satisfies. Kinda. But it should have been sensational.

The special features are very much in keeping with the spirit of the film and a satisfying addition to the DVD package. The animated menu shows Jack Nicholson with eyebrows that rise and fall in time with the music. It augers well. There’s a feature that asks ‘Do you have anger problems?’ Cute idea; Director Peter Segal and some of the cast ask questions to ascertain whether or not we are having anger issues. (eg. We are given four options for questions like ‘If someone smashes up your new Lexus what would you do?’)

Everybody will want to see the bloopers reel. Stupid – yes; funny – you bet! Especially the scenes with Nicholson and Sandler. And wait until you see Heather Graham stuffing her face with chocolate cake and not being able to keep a straight face!

There are two featurettes, while the audio commentary with director Peter Segal and Adam Sandler is a hoot. My favourite deleted scene is the one with John McEnroe, who is being presented with a certificate in group therapy, but loses his cool. ‘This isn’t the Davis Cup’ Dave says to McEnroe.

Published September 25, 2003

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CAST: Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Conrad Goode, Heather Graham, Luis Guzmán, Woody Harrelson

DIRECTOR: Peter Segal

SCRIPT: David Dorfman

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16 : 9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Peter Segal, Adam Sandler audio commentary; deleted scenes; bloopers; featurettes; Do you have anger problems? Trailers.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 24, 2003

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