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Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movies

Punch-drunk Sandler is back to old tricks in moronic 'Nights'

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review


( star)
"Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights," with the voices of Adam Sandler, Jackie Titone, Austin Stout. Directed by Seth Kearsley, from a screenplay by Brooks Arthur, Allen Covert, Brad Isaacs, and Sandler. 71 minutes. Rated PG-13 for frequent crude and sexual humor, drinking and brief drug references. Several theaters.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, let me offer this advice guaranteed to increase your seasonal cheer: Do not, under any circumstances, pay actual money to see "Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights" in the hope of hearing Sandler sing his latest version of "The Hanukkah Song." Instead, buy a ticket to something else at the multiplex (really, just about anything will do), and slip into "Eight Crazy Nights" at the very end of its endless 71 minutes if you simply must, when "The Hanukkah Song" is performed over the end credits.

Buying tickets for "Eight Crazy Nights" will only encourage Sandler to make another movie like this one — an animated musical that manages to be simultaneously tasteless and dull, with songs so tuneless and inept they seem to be made up on the spot. Memo to Sandler, just in case he missed "Spider-Man": With great power, dude, comes great responsibility. Just because you can get this shabby excuse for a movie made doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

Not that "The Hanukkah Song" in its current incarnation is any great shakes, although it's amusing (who knew that the guy who played harmonica in Willie Nelson's band was Jewish?), but it seems like genius next to the rest of the movie. In "Eight Crazy Nights" (which has, for the record, virtually nothing to do with Hanukkah, except that it just happens to be set during the holiday season), Sandler voices the character of Davey Stone, a chronic troublemaker busted for drunkenness and told that he must do community service, under the guidance of local basketball coach/all-around good guy/oddball-who-walks-funny Whitey Duvall (also voiced by Sandler, in an annoying Edith Bunker-ish whine that sounds like it hurts).

And then ... yada yada yada, poop joke, flatulence joke, jockstrap joke, portable-toilet joke, blah blah blah, goodness prevails, whoop-dee-doo, "Hanukkah Song." All this is rendered with pedestrian animation, deadly dialogue, and a general air of indifference, as if the whole thing was the result of a late-night bet, or a joke gone horribly wrong.

Seventy-one minutes can be a long, long time. Is there any holiday eggnog around? Please?

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

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