Mr. Deeds (2002)


This remake of the Frank Capra classic Mr. Deeds Goes To Town is probably more relevant for being Winona Ryder’s first film after being busted for shoplifting than any sort of quality that might be found in this film. I am not sure what happened to Adam Sandler. He went from up and coming funny man to stale and unoriginal so quickly. The movies he makes now just seem like an excuse for him to hang out with his friends (Grown Ups) or just a laughable excuse to pair Sandler up with some female way out of his league, sometimes both. Mr. Deeds was the beginning of the end for Sandler in my opinion. He had hit gold with films like Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer, but Mr. Deeds was when I first started to tire of his shtick. Vince Vaughn has a similar problem where he always played the same character. The first few times it is fine, and can be very funny, but the audience will eventually tire of seeing the same character over and over again.

The plot of Deeds is not original (obviously, this film is a remake). Sandler plays Longfellow Deeds, the last living distant relative of a billionaire. He inherits his uncle’s fortune and company, and leaves his small town pizzeria and greeting card business to move into his new mansion in New York, complete with his own butler (John Turturro, who is much better than this). He soon becomes the target of tabloid and gossip columnists throughout the city. One such reporter, Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), stages a robbery so that Deeds will save her. The naïve Deeds doesn’t realise he is being set up and lets the reporter into his life. Slowly Babe realises there is more to Deeds than a tabloid story, and begins to have second thoughts about writing the article. Deeds must also contend with the men running his uncle’s company, who are trying to dupe Deeds into selling it all them, rather than let this pizza making, Hallmark card writer run a multi-billion dollar business.

There’s not much to say about this film. It has its moments, mostly from John Turturro, and John McEnroe plays a funny caricature of himself. Other than that, everybody associated with this film has been better. If you want to see Sandler at his best, stick with SNL highlights, or put on The Wedding Singer. The biggest problem with this film is that it just isn’t very funny. If I’m watching a movie claiming to be a comedy, that is something I tend to expect.

Rating: D-

I’m embarrassed to say that I saw this movie in theaters. It was the summer before I went away to college. Adam Sandler was still considered a bankable star. It was Winona Ryder’s first movie since being arrested for shoplifting. These were some crazy times.

This movie is so bad. Like not even in a “compared to other Adam Sandler movies it’s bad” sort of way. It’s a terrible, unfunny mess. It’s best feature is that it is almost instantly forgettable. And I should know– re-watching this for the blog was like watching it for the first time, and writing the review required a reading of the plot synopsis.

The biggest problem with Mr. Deeds is that it’s the same old Adam Sandler shtick. He’s a lovable goofball who winds up with a woman physically out of his league. The jokes are crude and sophomoric. What was once hilarious when he was an early 20-something wears thin when preformed by a man in his mid-30s.

But I guess the joke is really on me. I’ve sat through this twice, and contributed to its box office success.

Rating: F

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