Crude humor sends 'Eight Crazy Nights' down toilet
By Jack Garner
Gannett News Service
|EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS (Rated PG-13 for crude, sexual humor ) One Star (Poor)
Don't let the cartoon concept fool you. This Hanukkah holiday movie is pure Adam Sandler with the requisite parade of toilet humor, extended burps, fat jokes and other endless sophomoric nonsense that typify Hollywood's most prominent practitioner of arrested development. Seth Kearsley directs. Columbia, 80 minutes.
The bad news: It's an Adam Sandler movie.
Don't let the cartoon concept fool you. "Eight Crazy Nights" is pure Sandler, with the requisite parade of toilet humor, extended burps, fat jokes and other endless sophomoric nonsense that typify Hollywood's most prominent practitioner of arrested development.
Rated PG-13, and only designed for youngsters who are brats-in-training, it's another in the long line of tasteless and stupid Sandler comedies on par with "Little Nicky," "The Water Boy" and "Big Daddy." It arrives just in time to remind us that his thoughtful performance this year in "Punch Drunk Love" was just a happy accident.
This time Sandler appears as a cartoon character the cynical, mean-spirited Davey Stone. Once a promising basketball player and all-round good guy, he turned bitter at 14, when his parents died in a car accident on the eve of Hanukkah.
Since then, he has no interest in the holiday or the adjoining Christmas nonsense in the town of Dukesberry.
Davey spends his days getting wasted on booze and his nights alone in his beat-up old trailer, parked on the edge of town. His attitude says "bah humbug," so, yes, the story of Scrooge is an obvious influence on Sandler and his co-writers.
But instead of being visited by the ghosts of Christmas, Davey comes under the spell of an elderly Jewish guy named Whitey, who's been refereeing basketball games at the local Jewish Community Center for a really long time.
Whitey always has a good word for everyone, and helps out around the town. He also cares for his difficult elderly sister, Eleanor.
Whitey remembers when Davey was a kid with a lot of potential to be a decent young man and he's determined to help him find those qualities again.
At its core, "Eight Crazy Nights" is a surprisingly tame tale of redemption in the time-honored holiday-movie tradition. It's just that Sandler and company stack so much lamebrain crudity around the core it's hard to find it. (Or to care when you do.)
The animation offers little more than the Saturday morning TV basics. Davey is drawn to look just like Sandler, while Whitey and Eleanor look like male and female variations of Mr. Magoo. Sandler provides voices for all three primary characters including irritating and amateurish high-pitched falsettos for the two old folks.
The music score offers mostly cornball parodies of traditional holiday sentimentality, topped off with a new recording by Sandler of his popular Hanukkah song (which includes the line that gives "Eight Crazy Nights" its title.)
Sandler obviously has his following one guy laughed so uproariously at the preview screening I swear he must have been one of the comic's relatives. But, to my taste, "Eight Crazy Nights" is one lousy movie.
Rated PG-13, with much crude, sexual humor.