Plot: What’s it about?
Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) was involved in a mishap on an airplane, one which should have been simple, but spiraled out of control. Although he never crossed a line of conduct, Buznik was found to be at fault and wound up sentenced. He wasn’t sent to prison or even put on probation however, though he might wish he were before it’s all said and done. Instead, Buznik is ordered to attend anger management sessions and not just any sessions, but ones with one of the nation’s most respected therapists. Buznik is to take the classes with Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), a well known therapist with some unusual methods. The sessions are loaded with offbeat clients, some of whom have worse cases of anger management than others. But Dave feels out of place at the meetings, as if he was placed in the class by total misunderstanding. For some reason, Rydell is abrasive to Buznik at every chance, while he lets other clients slide, even when they act out on their moments of rage. This drives Buznik up the wall, as Rydell is giving him problems all the time and shows no sign of letting up on the abuse. When yet another mishap lands Buznik back in hot water, Rydell moves in with him, to step up the treatments. But will this prove to help Buznik, or simply send him straight off the deep end?
The previews for this movie were quite offbeat, so I hoped to see star Adam Sandler return to his bizarre roots. His more recent films have had all of his trademarks, but just haven’t been as strange in the overall tone. If you go back to Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, those two flicks can be as weird as can be, but his later works have lost much of that oddball texture. Some touches of the bizarre can be found in all of Sandler’s films, but I was looking for Anger Management to be a return to those old days. As it turns out, this is a more reserved picture than expected and while some odd moments are strewn about, Anger Management isn’t as off the wall as I expected. Sandler has a more restrained presence here also, which means his costars have to bring much of the needed chaos, though that never proves to be a problem. Jack Nicholson gives yet another way, way over the top performance, while a chain of impressive cameos makes sure you’ll pay close attention, or else you might miss one. This is your basic Sandler picture in most respects, with the same kind of formula found in his other productions. So if you’re not a fan of Sandler’s brand of cinematic humor, don’t expect to be won over here. But if you are into his kind of laughs, then you’ll want to check out Anger Management.
He’s played the same role over and over again, but he never seems to lose steam with his dedicated fan base. I know a lot of folks bash Adam Sandler for his lack of diversity with his roles, but when an actor finds a type of role he can nail, should he be forced to expand his horizons? After all, Sandler’s films have done very, very well at the box office and his fans keep their support strong, so why should he switch lanes? In truth, his roles have started to show some signs of change, as he moves from his more bizarre work to more sentimental kind of stuff, look at the differences between Billy Madison and Big Daddy for evidence. But while his character is becoming more mature and reserved, the movies have remained over the top and silly, though with a little more sentiment with each passing film, it would seem. Anger Management is more of the same from Sandler, which is good news for some, and more bad news for others. Other films with Sandler also include Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Bulletproof, Mr. Deeds, and Punch-Drunk Love. The cast also includes Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt, Batman), Marisa Tomei (The Watcher, Four Rooms), and Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights, The Salton Sea).
Video: How does it look?
“Anger Management” is only five years old and, as such, we can expect a very good-looking transfer. Thankfully, that’s what we get but there were a few scenes that rubbed me the wrong way in terms of video. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer certainly shows off what Blu-ray is capable of, with most scenes looking crystal clear. In fact, it’s almost a bit too clear in some cases, we see a little too much detail on Jack Nicholson’s face if you ask me. A few of the outdoor scenes seem a bit on the bright side for me and the contrast seemed to be off in a few more. Aside from those minor inadequacies, I can’t really find much fault with the way this looks on Blu-ray.
Audio: How does it sound?
Let’s face it; “Anger Management” isn’t all about the sound though the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does have some pretty good moments. The film is a comedy and as such, we can’t expect a whole lot out of the soundtrack. I found the dialogue to be very rich and robust and there’s a scene when Nicholson is using some sort of electric device to “stimulate his hair folicales” that really seemed to resonate through the back channels. A bit odd, but it did stand out as being one of the better instances of sound in the film. By and large, the uncompressed track is a bit above average, but it’s not really supposed to be the main selling-point of the disc, is it?
Supplements: What are the extras?
The exact same features are present on this Blu-ray as they appeared on the DVD years ago. We get a commentary with Sandler and director Peter Segal and as many times as the two have worked together, I’d figure they’d have more to say. Evidently I was wrong as this is pretty lame and not something I’d recommend. We also get the same two featurettes, a gag reel and the theatrical trailer. The only possible reason for this movie being released is to help promote Sandler’s upcoming “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.” There, I said it.