Directed by Steven Brill. USA. 2002.

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Whenever someone asks me, ďJen, how can I turn my brains into sludge?Ē I generally recommend an Adam Sandler movie. There is no other product out there (in my humble opinion) to rival Sandlerís movies for pure moronic humour. And thatís OK. Sometimes the best way to succeed in Hollywood is to find a spot and slide into it. Harrison Ford fits in action. Anthony Hopkins fits as the homicidal loon. Sandler fits as mind fluff. Now however, Sandler is inexplicably attempting to step into Gary Cooperís spot in this yearís bizarre remake of the 1936 classic movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

The story goes like this....

Mr. Preston Blake, a multimedia gazillionaire dies attempting to scale Mt. Everest. (I defy you to find one member of the audience who wasnít picturing Bill Gates frozen to the summit, snickering quietly to themselves.) All of his fortunes fall to an unsuspecting heir, Longfellow Deeds a small town pizza parlour owner. Shenanigans and goings-on ensue when Deeds leaves home for a few days to come to the big apple, and inherit his windfall. 

Mr. Deeds. All Rights Reserved.Watching Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy) I was reminded of my theatre-going experience watching Titanic.   In Titanic I sat perplexed as a cinema full of teenage girls cried their eyes out over Leonardo DiCaprio and wished that the movie would go on forever. (As Celine Dionís theme song seemed to.) I couldnít get out of the theatre fast enough. (This is partly due to the fact that the movie was bad, and also partly to do with the fact that there was a lynch mob of colour co-ordinated 14 year olds was forming to have ďlike some wordsĒ with me for laughing during Leoís death scene.) Like my alienation at Titanic, my experience at Mr. Deeds was one of Invasion of the Body Snatchers eeriness. I was in a theatre full of people laughing hysterically at things that were just....not funny. I counted the number of times I laughed at something Sandler said or did in the 105 minutes I will never get back again: 3. Iím not terribly financially inclined but it seems to me that one laugh every 35 minutes is not quite a lot of bang for your buck.

Winona Ryder (Heathers, Girl, Interrupted) plays Deedís love interest Babe Bennett. Her talents are TOTALLY wasted here, as the script never does anything with this character, save for making her entirely one-dimensional and puerile. The thought of getting to watch Ryder stretch her comedic legs was intriguing enough to get me through the doors of the theatre. The terrible role she found herself in made me sorry to see her lessen herself. Ryder is a talent, a unique and distinctive actress whom Sandler should be worshiping right now as she is the ONLY thing in this movie giving it any class whatsoever.

I have been told that Iím opinionated. Thatís certainly true in that I know exactly what I like. I enjoy originality. I favour directors who use their stars to their full potential. I donít endorse projects that take movies that donít need remaking, update them, and dumb them down to a level where they assume theyíll be palatable. Anyone who needs anything sharpened may want to consider paying Gary Cooperís grave a visit as heís most likely spinning at a rate to sharpen the dullest of butter knives to steak quality. Too bad he wasnít around to do the same for the script. My opinion of Sandlerís talents being minuscule is becoming more and more entrenched the more I see of his work. Donít waste your time on this one. 

Jen Johnston
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