8 Crazy Nights
review by Laura Bushell, 29 November 2002

Adam Sandlerís animated seasonal offering is a curious mix of A Christmas Carol with a dose of Farrelly Brotherís gross-out humor, topped of with a few musical numbers and some sending up of Yiddish traditions. Yep, itís really one of the most bizarre films this season, if not this year. and, in any case, probably the only place youíre likely to see incontinent cartoon reindeer, if thatís your cup of tea.

Davey is 33 years old, Jewish and one of the most embittered members of his community. Generally resentful of anyone having a good time, Daveyís antics reach their nadir during the holiday season when, on a drunken rampage, he lands himself in court and very nearly in jail. But, this being the festive season and all, Davey is given one last chance to dodge the slammer by agreeing to community service with the local basketball coach Whitey. An unassuming and upstanding (if slightly ridiculed) member of the community, Whitey lives quietly with his sister Eleanor until the ungrateful so-and-so Davey decides to make his life hell, despite the fact he has moved in with them after his trailer is burnt down.

Whitey and Eleanor become the butt of Daveyís practical jokes (like the time Davey rolls Whitey down a hill in a portapotty, and Whitey emerges covered in other peopleís feces) but out of good will or sheer stupidity still allow him to live with them. But as Davey slowly wears down their kindness, he also comes to realize the error of his ways, with a little help from his old high-school sweetheart Jennifer who canít believe the sweet-natures boy she dated has turned out to be so obnoxious. And after some cod-psychoanalysis (itís all about his childhood, you see) Davey make a final attempt to reform himself and get into the Hanukah spirit.

Itís really hard to see who 8 Crazy Nights is aimed at; itís far too obscene for kids and thereís far too many poo jokes for adults to find it bearable, let alone funny. Admittedly there are a few genuine laughs to be had here, but every time Sandler builds up the sweetness or sarcasm, he knocks it down with a poo joke. And most of the time weíre not even reaching a South Park level of humor here but rather a paler than pale imitation most of the time that just leaves you slack-jawed in amazement that this ever got made, but weíll get to that later. Based around the eights nights of Hanukah, 8 Crazy Nights manages to skirt around Jewish themes and just rehash two standard Christmas tales --A Christmas Carol and Itís a Wonderful Life -- so as not to be off-putting to Christmas audiences. Itís a weakness that Davey himself would be first to point out, probably throwing in a few expletives on the way, and itís sappiness is incongruous to the kind of off-beat drama and sarcastic humor the film is trying to create.

Sandler has a lot of vocal talent as an actor but his physical humor is obviously lost with the move to animation, despite the resemblance between him and Davey. The animation is very unfussy, more traditional that flashy or revolutionary CGI. The style of animation is also a strange mixture; while Davey is virtually an animated version of Sandler himself, Whitey and Eleanorís elfin features would be more at home in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Thereís also some brazen, but actually quite effective, product placement when various company logos (like the Footlocker referee) come to life in a mall to inform Davey of his wrongs during one of the musical numbers. Now we know where he got the money from 

Which brings us on to the making of this film. With Sandler voicing three characters, acting as co-producer and co-script-writer itís not hard to see whoís running this ship. One can only wonder what director Seth Kearsley actually had to do with the production, apart from nodding and smiling at Sandlerís suggestions. And for Sandler himself this marks a brave move into new territory but a disappointing one after his foray into serious acting recently in Paul Thomas Andersonís Punch-Drunk Love. As much as this fun and personal project for Sandler shows that his heart is in the right place, it also shows that his should surrender his juvenile streak as itís not going to win him over many fans. Love or hate him, Sandler has the kind of Ďstar powerí and funding to get something like this off the ground, providing his name is part of the title. If youíre still reading at this point then it seems you really will have to see 8 Crazy Nights to believe it. Good luck.

Directed by:
Seth Kearsley

Adam Sandler
Jackie Titone
Austin Stout
Tyra Banks
James Barbour
Bobby Edner
Jon Lovitz
Kevin Nealon
Rob Schneider
Cole Sprouse
Dylan Sprouse
Travis Tedford
Lucas Wilson

Written by:
Brooks Arthur
Allen Covert
Brad Isaacs
Adam Sandler

PG-13 Parents
Strongly Cautioned.
Some material may
be inappropriate for
children under 13.







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