Little Nicky review

So we've established that crude can sometimes be howlingly funny, and that jokes about jizzy hair gel and poo in the face and cripples and dogs humping your leg can bring the house down. And few people have problems with stupid humour - - Bill And Ted and Dumb&Dumber proved that. And we know that both audiences and Hollywood love Adam Sandler, since he churns out cheap movies that rake in more than $100 million. Yet although Little Nicky's full of dogs pissing, blind/wheelchair-bound people pratfalling and Sandler plays a nerd simpleton, the formula just doesn't work here. Why? It's simply not funny. The central joke is that Satan has a good-natured, shy, considerate son.

So everyone who loved Sandler's angry, blue-collar kinda-guy persona from Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer can forget it, because here you're getting a character more annoying than The Waterboy's cretin. Add into the mix your basic album cover notions of Heaven and Hell, with demons and flames on one side and pastel-covered bunny fields on the other. Then have Harvey Keitel camping it up as a South Parkish Satan, all concern and worry about his job. Finally, pack it out with the stock characters of sidekick (a talking dog) and love interest (Patricia Arquette) and watch the sparks fail to fly, as some grindingly bad set-pieces go hand in hand with Americentric jokes about US celebs to create movie Hell.

You've got to wonder why, in a film where a talking dog goes to a strip joint and a car accident showers onlookers with gore, they've also included a cissy hand-in-hand night-time flight around New York, a la Superman. With Nicky's man-child vulnerability played for maximum, clinging sentimentality, and more effects than gags (and pretty bad effects at that), even diehard Sandler fans will find this hard to like.

If it isn't entertaining as a story and it isn't funny as a comedy, what's the point? Adam Sandler delivers his first drop-dead dud with a jumble of sentimentality, vulgarity and inanity. The tired mix of bum and tit jokes here will only appeal to giggling schoolboys.


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