Monday, March 12, 2012

Movie Review: Anger Management (2003)

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Year Produced: 2003
Director: Peter Segal
Executive Producer: Adam Sandler
Producer(s): Allen Covert, Jack Giarraputo, Tim Herlihy
Writer: David S. Dorfman
Studio: Studio Revolution Studios, Happy Madison
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Adam Sandler - Dave Buznik
Jack Nicholson - Dr. Buddy Rydell
Marisa Tomei - Linda
Luis Guzman - Lou
Allen Covert - Andrew
Lynne Thigpen - Judge Brenda Daniels
Krista Allen - Stacy
January Jones - Gina
Kurt Fuller - Frank Head
John Turturro - Chuck
Woody Harrelson - Galaxia/Gary
Kevin Nealon - Sam

In the year 1978, Dave Buznik was about to kiss the girl of his dreams for the first time, following a game of truth or dare with the girl, Sarah, when he had his pants pulled down by a local public in front of public. Dave was openly humiliated and laughed at by the crowd, and this incident left a long term effect on Dave's life, emotions and relationship.

In the present; 25 years later, Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is a grown up man who is working in New York City for a abusive boss, Frank, who always takes credits for his work. Dave has a loving girlfriend, Linda (Marisa Tomei) whom he confides in, but Linda worries about Dave being constantly bullied and wishes that he will stand up for himself once in a while.
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At the same time, Linda's best guy friend and admirer, Andrew (Allen Covert), was constantly and openly showing his affections for Linda and yet Dave did not react, as he did not want to cause a scene.

Dave was then sent on an assignment and he boarded a plane where he found his seat already taken by somebody else. Although Dave was rather annoyed, he tried to hide it well by reasoning with the guy but the guy just refused to change his seat and even told Dave to sit elsewhere. It was then that another guy at the back of the plane beckoned to Dave and he took that seat.
During his flight, he was trying to catch up on his sleep but to no avail as he was constantly disturbed by the guy, named Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), who kept telling him that the movie he was watching was really hilarious and urged him to put on his headset and watch the same movie together. Dave gave in when he realized that he is not getting his sleep, he requested for his headset from the air stewardess. However, he felt a little impatient when he noticed that the flight attendants were chatting but yet did not bother to bring him his headset. When the flight attendant walked past him again, he brushed against her but was mistaken as trying to assault her, and the air marshal appears, trying to take control of the situation.

However, Dave was being tried in court for assaulting and inflicting injury on the flight attendant, and he was sentenced to 20-hours anger management therapy session. When Dave turned up for his session, he was surprised to see that the therapist was actually the guy who sat next to him on the plane; Dr. Buddy Rydell. He asked Buddy to help him out by signing him off for the sessions when he will only attend one session. Buddy, however, refused but tried to coax him into the first session to see how he will go from there.
Dave meets bizarre and violent characters in the therapy patients such as Lou (Luis Guzman), Nate (Jonathan Loughran), Chuck (John Turturro), and a pair of sexy yet eccentric porn star girls, Stacy (Krista Allen) and Gina (January Jones).
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Buddy pushed Dave to share about himself, to the extent that Dave finally shouted in the class.
At the end of the class, Buddy decides that Dave needs to continue his sessions, and even assigns him a partner; Chuck, who was a a violent guy and scares Dave, much to his displeasure.

Dave and Chuck went out for a drink at a bar, where Chuck, starts a fight with a man sitting at the bar counter and Dave, trying to calm down everyone ends up accidentally hitting the waitress with the walking stick he took away from a blind man. He ends up in a court again and meets the same judge again; Judge Brenda Daniels (Lynne Thigpen) who clearly not pleased with his recurring offence and orders him to intensive therapy treatment or face jail, after Buddy negotiates with her.

Buddy then moves in to stay with Dave, claiming that he needs the intensive therapy/treatment and to accomplish that, Buddy will need to understand his daily behaviors and habits.
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Buddy shares his bed, and even orders Dave about, annoying him to no end but Dave was still maintaining his cool.
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Then Buddy followed Dave to work, and while driving in the car, he forced Dave to stop his car in the middle of the bridge and caused massive traffic jam, with most of the drivers driving past them, cursing.
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Inside the car, Buddy taught Dave to sing a "I Feel Pretty' song. Buddy then instructs Dave to go to a street where they pick up a transvetite, Galaxia, and offers to pay him to just sit with Dave and talk to him. Dave was terrified and yelled at Galaxia to get out of the car. It was then that Buddy explained that he can progress in the next level in the program as he has learnt about righteous anger.
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Dave then received a phone call from Boston about Buddy's mum who was undergoing surgery and lied to Buddy, who took it seriously. When Buddy learns that it was not that serious, he told Dave he will get him back for that. He insisted that Dave joins him on his road trip to Boston.
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In Boston, Buddy taught Dave to seduce a girl (Heather Graham) using a lame pick up line and to Dave's surprise, she fell for it and even followed Dave home. When Dave refused to sleep with her, she burst into anger and kicked him out of the house, and Dave screamed at her in return outside the house.

As they were returning from Boston, Buddy instructed Dave to drive to a monastery where he is to confront his childhood bully, Arnie Shankman, who is now a Buddhist monk. Their confrontation ended up in a fight as Dave lost his temper and learns about righteous anger.

Then Dave was surprised when Linda told him that she was advised by Buddy to separate from him, and Dave confronted Buddy who told him that it was essential to make Linda realize how good Dave was after dating some lousy guys. Convinced, Dave also decided to play along by asking the two porn star girls, Stacy and Gina to help to pretend as his dates and he found out that Linda's new date was actually none other than Buddy himself. Furious, he confronted Buddy once again, but was coaxed into believing that Buddy would portray a bad guy image to make Linda realize the good guy in Dave.
However, Buddy soon told him that he and Linda had fallen for each other, and Dave then hit him in anger.

Dave ended up in court again, where he was ordered on restraint to stay away from Buddy and Linda. Upset, he follows them to the Yankees game after hearing that they will there that night, and finally mustering his courage, he runs to the middle of the field, and tried to use the microphone to confess his feelings and propose to Linda but was pulled away by the authorities.
However, the Mayor (Rudy Giulani) gives him a chance and orders him to finish what he was saying and then Dave proposed to Linda, who agrees but only if Dave kisses her in front of everyone there.

Then Linda showed Dave the score board which reads a congratulatory message from Buddy on their proposal.

Linda then reveals to Dave that the whole thing was orchestrated by her, after reading a book on anger management by Dr. Buddy Rydell. She sought his help to treat Dave, whom she thinks has been suppressing his feelings far too much and that he will need to learn to express himself.
Then a man came to the group, threatening that he was the owner of the car which crashed when Buddy reversed his car and he held them at gunpoint. Dave then stepped in front of Buddy, and shared what he had learnt from Buddy to calm the man down.
The man then pointed his gun at Dave's head and squirts water, and the group burst out laughing, with Buddy reminding Dave that he had mentioned he will get him back for his joke on Buddy's mother and everyone broke into singing "I Feel Pretty".

Christy's Review:
I do admit feeling that the whole movie centering on the topic of Anger Management did confuse me a little, and got me thinking, "Is this the right movie?"
Sure, there were moments of absurdity which cracks one up, but there are moments of frustration at the direction of the movie. It is like watching a car driving in a wayward direction; and then derailed completely. Yes, the movie gave me that feeling.
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It was revealed in the end that Buddy Rydell was just there to annoy the hell out of Dave, because he was hired by Linda to help him to express his anger and not constantly suppress it, but then the methods used by Buddy and even he himself, was not really that true to the concept of anger management, was it?
Overall, it was true to its genre; a slapstick comedy, and nothing to really take seriously or else, one will just end up confused or frustrated.

Character Analysis:
Adam Sandler as Dave Buznik
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Adam plays the anger-suppressed Dave quite well, and it is no surprise since this is Adam Sandler we are talking about. His expressions make one feels for him, and empathize with what he is feeling; which is mostly frustration. We can't blame him, when people like Buddy, Chuck and his boss constantly annoying the daylights out of him, and they kept pushing at that limit. I think any normal human being or even the most patient would be angered by those actions.
In my opinion, I didn't really think that Dave was a dangerous person at all; nor is he as violent as charged in court which is the main reason why I find the concept of the movie just ridiculous. Dave is a very likable character, and he is probably just like most of the people around the world, who just wants a little peace and he can deal with his own problems, but no, everyone around him just thinks he needs to learn to express his anger appropriately. Of course, that makes sense, but sometimes, when one learns to express anger, then they want them to learn to suppress their anger, yeah, then the movie Anger Management comes along.

Jack Nicholson as Buddy Rydell
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No doubt, Jack is the veteran who added the drama to the movie, as he plays the annoying yet professional anger management therapist, Dr. Buddy Rydell. Alright, the interesting part is how this guy preaches about anger management to Dave and yet losing his temper or cool easily when things go wrong. It was just quite ironic. Yeah, it is all about learning to express your emotions when needed, and not resorting to violence, but the methods Buddy used turned out to be bizarre and annoying too, no offense. Jack is poised and cool in most of his scenes, playing the eccentric doctor to a believable level.

Marisa Tomei as Linda
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Sweet and subtle, there is really nothing more to say about the character Linda as there was not much of an appearance. She is supposed to be the master mind behind the whole plot, but yet, she did not have much of an impact in the movie, except to show her sweet smile once in a while in those scenes she did appear.

Likes about the movie:
The scene where Dave stops his car in the middle of the bridge and was made to sing "I Feel Pretty" with the crazy Dr. Buddy Rydell.

Dislikes about the movie:
Why doesn't everyone just leave Dave alone, and just kept pushing him by doing all sorts of silly things? I just find it a little over the edge sometimes, in the movie.

Watch with an open mind, but don't delve too much into the logic as this is not about understanding the movie. This is a slapstick comedy, so nothing more.

Rating: 2.5/5

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