- by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Jan
Last year's critically acclaimed
This year, there is a movie called
I have to add my own review to the list of those warning potential viewers that this is a movie to avoid. (Unfortunately, the movie is already this week's box–office champion.)
Director Peter Segal can be proud of the list of actors he's had the opportunity to work with. Sandler and Nicholson are joined by Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly, Harry Dean Stanton, Heather Graham, and Woody Harrelson. But that's about all Segal can be proud of. All of these talents are wasted on material that rarely rises above gutter humor, and that invests time and energy in a game of second–guessing that grows tiresome and implausible. Watching
Geri Pare (Catholic News Service) says, "Segal takes a reasonably funny premise … but goes for cheap laughs involving transvestite hookers, making Buddhist monks turn to violence, and jealous lesbians. The constant sexual references are at gutter level, and for a movie aimed at Sandler's target audience of impressionable pre–teen and teen males, the emphasis on how male anatomical size really matters is not a good—or even funny—message to send."
Movieguide's critic says, "
Holly McClure (Crosswalk) testifies, "The more I watched this movie, the angrier I got. I think it was all of the injustice people committed against each other or got away with; it just seemed unfair. Instead of the characters' behavior coming off as funny or rude, sometimes it seemed cruel—and by the end of the movie, the defensive behavior is so exhausting, I didn't enjoy the movie. Save your money and time on this one."
Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) writes, "But it is no surprise to find that a brilliant premise treated sophomorically by Sandler's Happy Gilmore Productions results in a sophomoric film. This effort is far beneath Nicholson's talents. Poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly edited, this film wastes more opportunities for humor than it uses."
J. Robert Parks (Phantom Tollbooth) asks, "How bad is
Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says, "Remember those kids who'd trap a bee and a wasp in a mayonnaise jar just to watch them go at it? They're the target audience for
Michael Medved (Crosswalk) says it "delivers so many of the key elements of CLASSic comedy that the movie's nagging and altogether unnecessary flaws can make you, well, furious." He adds, "The PG–13 rating for
Mainstream critics are equally frustrated with the film. Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun–Times) says, "The concept is inspired. The execution is lame.
An epidemic of anger at the cineplex.by Jeffrey Overstreet
Books & Culture, September/October 2003