Little Nicky (2000)

LITTLE NICKY, devilishly compelling premise aside, is standard-grade 
(Adam) Sandler- clunky direction, clunkier timing, a kitchen-sink 
sense of humor with a pronounced bathroom bent, frequent scripting 
of *my* favorite word ("sucks"), the star's most grating speech im-
pediment to date (how to make millions in movies: talk funny), and a 
damnable gob of mismatched music, both randomly slapped-on rock (and 
hard rock) songs and a frantic-even-when-it-doesn't-need-to-be or-
chestral score aping Danny Elfman's BEETLEJUICE themes.  Don't you 
hate when that happens?  To be fair, there's *one* memorable musical 
moment-- a Roth-era Van Halen cue in the beginning that's good for a 
knowing laugh.  And you can guess which song that is.

What makes Boy Beelzebub marginally more watchable than THE WATERBOY 
et al is the Sandler-as-sweet-but-stupid-son-of-Satan premise, the 
casting of Harvey "I'll Try Any Role Once" Keitel as the Big D, and 
a string of surprise cameos, ranging from Reese Witherspoon as Nick-
y's heavenly mother to Rodney Dangerfield as the old man's old man.  
("Even in Hell I don't no respect.")  Alas, most of these bit parts 
bite-- Patricia Arquette's human love interest, Dana Carvey inex-
plicably wearing old-age make-up as a Harlem Globetrotter ref, etc.
-- but they keep you watching for other and hopefully more amusing
familiar faces.  Like Reege, who also appears.

Forget caring about the plot, which has Sandler's character chasing 
his two throne-aspiring brothers around a pre-Giuliani looking New 
York.  Some good throwaway gags, though.  Like the embroidered "D" 
on Keitel's house-coat.  Or the perpetually chilly Nicky using a 
Weber grill as a bar stool.  Other attempts at humor, however, are 
just plain disturbing.  This Critic certainly wasn't prepared for 
the sight of Ron Howard's younger brother Clint as a transvestite.  
Er, make that the world's *ugliest* transvestite.  And at least one 
repeated gag is a bonafide head-scratcher, depicting Adolph Hitler 
wearing a French maid outfit and receiving his ritual pineapple-up-
the-butt punishment.  What socio-cultural message is *that* send-

Thankfully the art direction is consistently eye-popping, with vis-
ual riffs ripping both Hieronymus Bosch and every heavy-metal album 
cover ever made.  And the last half-hour actually goes far-enough 
over-the-top to truly tickle, starting with Heaven envisioned as, 
like, a country club full of way-preppy teenage girls.  With cell 
phones.  Then there's a brutal pillow fight back on Earth.  Henry 
Winkler gets covered with bees.  (Don't ask.)  The hero battles e-
vil with a giant box of Popeye's friend chicken.  (Don't ask, ei-
ther.)  And then everything wraps with *the* Ozzy Osbourne cameo to 
end all Ozzy Osbourne cameos.  If you're a metal-head, just go a-
head and plunk your money down.  It's totally worth of the price of 
admission.  Dude.  (Rated "R"/87 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Hell Movies

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros