Remember when Anger Management came out? With Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler? We all said, hm, sounds like kind of a weird combination but it’s bound to at least be funny? And then we never heard anything about the film after that? Did we all just sort of assume that it wasn’t very good?

We should have. We would have been right.

Alrightee then! Here’s exactly where I can head you off at the pass! Don’t rent this complete stinker!

The shame of it all is that all the incredible building materials for a great movie are present here. Just start with the actors! Jack is always a good time, Adam is likable, Marisa Tomei always classes up the joint, and John Turturro is just hanging around, being his always unique oddball self. From the first minute, I started to fantasize about what would have happened if that group just threw out this unfunny premise, got a group improv idea and just riffed... I might have watcheice!

Basically, I do have a prejudice operating here. I confess to deeply disliking the plot where you have an EveryMan or Woman and another character that is psychopathically insane and exists in the script just to completely mess up EveryPerson’s life. I know I should have felt liberated in this case by them using Nicholson for it instead of a girl. In the vast majority of these plots, the completely motiveless messer-upper is a girl seducing and destroying some innocent guy for no reason. But the gender switch wasn’t enough to get me up to even mildly interested in a ridiculous premise to start with. I started to count the minutes within the first half hour. That’s just not a good sign.

Wow. This movie isn’t unlike when you have something rotten in your refrigerator? And you’re just too lazy to throw it out? But you live every moment in dread, just knowing that the smell is busy getting wollow its every frame?!” Hmm... So difficult to comprehend....

And with Jack taking center stage, Sandler decides to be more middle of the road. What an incomprehensible choice. This is a little like Kenny G deciding to be more middle of the road.

Nicholson decides to move in with Sandler and help him solve his anger problem. Does this make any friggin’ sense at this juncture or is it even explained? Why, now that you ask, it isn’t even a little bit explained! Makes no rational sense at all! This movie is already living in a fantasy world that I don’t understand. And frankly, if I’m going

Oh my God. I’m halfway through this and I’m starting to think it is so unbelievably horrible that I must be working off a video traffic ticket or something. A new emotion crosses my mind and it takes me a moment to identify it... I suddenly get it - I am completely embarrassed for Jack Nicholson. That’s a new one on me. Five more minutes... Did anyone remotely enjoy this without passing out first?

Oh my God. This is so bad I’m astounded. But wait! Now we’ve added a male transvestite! Oh Lordy, it’s being played by Woody Harrelson! This couldn’t really get any worse. I should never have said that. Embarrassed again for Jack. Bored again with Adam. Oh no, a whole new low. Heather Graham shows up as the insecure fat girl? What was anybody thinking? WAS anybody thinking?

It all dissolves to male-bonding through a

They finally have a moving ending with Rudy Guiliani. Nice ending for another film. Then there is a quick ending to explain what in the world Jack’s character was there for throughout the film. Uh oh, sorry. Too late. Needed that explanation before I went brain dead.

I’d love to see someone do a funny, or even interesting exploration of anger, since it is indeed heightening to new levels all around us and let’s face it, in us.

But friends, this ain’t that film either. So what film is it? I could tell you the answer but let me save you time all over the place. Watch something else. Watch a Laker game. Jack’ll be there. You’ll see him more believable and there’s a game besides.

If you put a gun to my head, I’d watch this movie again. Short of that, no way.

Copyright © 2006 CTarr