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Eight Crazy Nights (2002)

11 December 2004 by Gnoll One Comment


2002, dir. Seth Kearsley
70 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, and Rob Schneider.

Review by Gnoll

When I said this was the 2004 Secular Holiday Extravaganza, I wasn’t lying. This year the focus won’t just be on regular ol’ Christmas movies. Yes, I’ve decided to foray into the exciting world of Hanukkah (Chanukah?) flicks, a genre that includes Adam Sandler’s first stab at an animated feature, EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS as well as, uh, well, I think that’s it. Actually, I guess secular is the wrong word. Maybe non-denominational holiday extravaganza would work better.

Fuck it. I’ll not get to too much talking about the site at the moment, because it’s been a while since I wrote a review and I need to make sure I remember how to do that. I do remember that the worse a film is, the better of a time I have when it comes time to criticize it, so I’m bound to have a blast slicing this one up.

First off: I’ve always had a soft spot for Adam Sandler. I can’t really justify it, because he’s one of the most hit-or-miss guys out there, but it’s always been there. BILLY MADISON, HAPPY GILMORE, and BIG DADDY are funny, charming, and rewatchable movies. ANGER MANAGEMENT was subpar in comparison, but still drew a chuckle out of me. I thought Sandler did a great job handling his first dramatic role in P.T. Anderson’s PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, and I’m looking forward to catching James L. Brooks’ SPANGLISH this holiday season. I try really hard to forget that somewhere scatterd between those films lie BULLETPROOF, THE WATERBOY, LITTLE NICKY, and MR. DEEDS.

EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS can be filed away in the miss category. Oh, sure, I knew that was going to be the case when it came out two years ago, but as I wait for my online rental queue to pop out the movies I’ll be reviewing up to the eleventh hour this year, I needed something holiday-related to flesh out the site.

In this holiday flop, Sandler stars as Davey, a cartoon character that looks just like Adam Sandler, talks just like Adam Sandler, and acts just like Adam Sandler does in 99% of his roles. What is it with Sandler’s penchant for playing these violent sociopathic characters who are hiding a heart of gold? That’s even the premise of PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, which is supposed to be a departure for Sandler. this time around, Sandler is able to spread his talents around a bit, by portraying two other characters in the film: Whitey the diminutive basketball coach and his tiny hairless sister Eleanor. Of course, if you’ve ever heard a Sandler CD, you already know these basic characters, but let’s give him a pass for working with the material he knows.

Davey is an obnoxious alcoholic who lives in a small town. When he runs in to trouble with the law, Whitey offers to take him under his wing and let him do some basketball coaching for community service. Davey manages to tick off everyone in attendance while serving as a ref, but we all know that heart of gold is going to pop out any minute now.

Davey even manages to irk his old grade school girlfriend Jennifer, who is now divorced with a preteen son named Benjamin. While conventional movie wisdom would tell us that Davey will wind up taking the kid to heart and eventually win the heart of the lady, this movie decides to go in a different direction altogether and, wait, nevermind, I’m thinking of a different movie. This one does do everything you predict it will.

So Davey and Benjamin lay waste to a couple of hooldums in a pickup game one day, which leads to one of the hoodlums eating sweaty jockstrap and then burning down Davey’s trailer home. Whitey feels sorry for him, so he lets Davey crash with him and his sister. Davey’s compassionate side starts to shine through for a little while but eventually he reverts back to his typical asshole self. Something that probably passes for hilarity in some parts of Eastern Europe ensues.

Oh, and somewhere through all this is some pretty basic holiday imagery. The whole thing takes place over those eight crazy nights of Hanukkah. Davey is to Hanukkah what Ebeneezer Scrooge is to Christmas, except that the holiday season really only appears in an ancillary capacity in this film and really has nothing at all to do with the plot. Chop it up and puree the whole thing with a moral lesson and epiphany that’s about as shallow as you can imagine, and you have yourself a real stinker that really only makes it onto a list of holiday movies by default.

The whole thing is tied together by Absoludicrous™ musical sequences that make you thank God that South Park exists. Ridiculous, unfunny, and audibly painful, these songs are merely an excuse for Sandler to work in his Opera Man routine where it’s not necessary. Only one song (“Technical Foul”) even remotely works, and its effectiveness is bogged down by the excruciatingly annoying voice of whitey.

EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS clocks in at a merciful 70 minutes; however, you’ll still wind up begging for that barely-an-hour’s-worth of time to be added back to your life. To make matters worse, this thing is packed on a double DVD which includes more special features than a film this crappy could ever deserve.

I feel kind of sorry for the Jewish community when this is about the most prolific film available that celebrates their Winter celebration. Hell, even South Park‘s Kyle is a better role model for our Jewish friends than Davey here. My advice is to skip this and just listen to Kyle sing “Lonely Jew at Christmas” over and over again.

One Comment »

  • Mike said:

    any movie that adam sandler is in i love it. amazing actor all his movies are good

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