Little Nicky (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I know I always complain about how unrealistic antichrist movies are, but this one was an exception. Of course, they had an insider viewpoint, because Adam Sandler IS the antichrist. Oh, wait a minute, I was thinking of Ethan Hawke. Sorry. Well, Sandler must be at least some kind of minor demon.

Kidding aside, the movie isn't as awful as you might expect from the reviews. I did laugh quite a bit. But my biggest surprise here was that they needed $80 million to make an Adam Sandler comedy. Two questions: (1) where did that money go? They made Enemy at the Gates for less than that, with a realistic depiction of the battle of Stalingrad, complete with artillery, mammoth battles, burned out city streets, and about a zillion air attacks. (2) How did all that money make this movie any better?

A classic case of Hollywood excess. This film took in $39 million dollars. Woody Allen's comedies take in $16 million and make a healthy profit. If this film had been made for $10 million, the studio would have been fairly happy and the investors would have been very happy. But they were angling for a blockbuster, rolled it out on 2900 screens, and it just wasn't in the cards. Sandler can really draw some box office when he plays it simple, funny and sympathetic, but in this film he just went for the pure doofus Jerry Lewis babytalk schtick, and it was ... well ... pretty damned dumb.

As for the secondary performances .....

In the past few days, I saw Ringo Starr in Candy and Bill Murray in Hamlet. Adding to my tour of the great bad performances, I just saw Quentin Tarantino in Little Nicky. The performances had something in common. In each case, they played cameos in films where the star was almost as bad. 


Ringo stays in the #1 slot of all time, but Tarantino really gave it a good shot, and Sandler himself could easily go one-on-one with Ewa Aulin from Candy.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • two full-length commentaries, director and Sandler

  • 21 deleted scenes

  • heavy metal documentary, behind the scenes featurette, music video, script-to-screen for DVD-ROM

You know what the sad thing is? This film could have been OK if Sandler has simply played Little Nicky as himself. As the son of an angel and Satan, he could easily have appeared to be a regular guy, neither saint no sinner, like any of us. His playing the role as a normal adult could have made this an adult movie instead of the juvenile nonsense that it ended up, with Sandler spoiling any good lines by talking in a whispering wimpy voice, hunching over and curling one side of his mouth, like some kind of Richard the Third Grade.

Of course, you know that it wasn't going to be realistic when Satan's favorite music didn't include Air Supply.

In passing, let me say that I laughed out loud when some funny things happened in New York City after Nicky's brothers upset the balance between good and evil.

The drinking age was lowered to ten, the city slogan "I Love NY" was changed to "I love hookers", and the referees started calling the Harlem Globetrotters for traveling. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: slightly below two stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 1/4, Apollo 59, Maltin 2/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 21% positive overall, 26% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.7, Apollo users 62/100. 
  • With their dollars ... a mini-disaster. Made with an $80 million budget, it grossed $39 million. It may break even with other income.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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