Mr. Deeds is a 2002 remake of the Frank Capra classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, starring Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder. It was released in June 2002 by New Line Cinema and Columbia Pictures. The soundtrack is available on RCA Records.

Synopsis:
82-year old Preston Blake (Harve Presnell) is a successful man; he's built a few minor radio stations into a multinational media empire worth $40 billion, including ownership of the New York Jets. During a bid to become the oldest man to scale Mount Everest, Blake dies (after reaching the summit) without issue.

A worldwide search uncovers Blake's closest living relative and heir, Longfellow Deeds. Deeds lives a simple life in Mandrake Falls, NH...running his pizzeria, writing awkward-sounding greeting cards and being a likeable schlub. (Adam Sandler playing a likeable schlub? Never!) Deeds is contacted by two executives from Blake Media, Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher) and Cecil Anderson (Erick Avari) and is brought to New York City to cash out his 300 million-some odd shares.

Deeds, for all his good intentions, gets himself into trouble shortly after arriving in New York. He's caught on film getting shitfaced with tennis badboy John McEnroe and starting a fistfight with a reknown opera singer. All of this is recorded surreptitiously by Deeds' new girlfriend, Pam Dawson, who is actually a tabloid TV show producer named Babe Barrett (Ryder). Barrett's boss, "Inside Access" executive producer and host Mac McGrath (Jared Harris).

ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO PASS THIS POINT, FOR SPOILERS FOLLOW or something like that

Even though he befriends many during his stay in New York (including Anderson, servant Emilio (John Turturro) and elevator operator Reuben (J.B Smoove), Deeds doesn't realize that he's being played. On top of Pam/Babe using Deeds to further her career, Cedar plans to disassemble Blake Media after assuming control. Poor Deedsy, the schlub.

On the night he plans to propose to Pam, he discovers her true identity while watching Inside Access. After completing the sale, a heartbroken Deeds donates his $40 billion to the United Negro College Fund and returns to Mandrake Falls.

Of course, there's a happy ending...but you'll have to rent the DVD to see it. Either that or download a copy from one of the many p2p networks. My copy has Bahasa Indonesia subtitles.

Abridged cast and crew:

Adam Sandler                    Longfellow Deeds  
Winona Ryder                    Babe Bennett/Pam Dawson  
John Turturro                   Emilio Lopez  
Steve Buscemi                   Crazy Eyes  
Jared Harris                    Mac McGrath  
Peter Gallagher                 Chuck Cedar  
Allen Covert                    Marty  
Conchata Ferrell                Jan  
Roark Critchlow                 William  
Peter Dante                     Murph  
J.B. Smoove                     Reuben  
Erick Avari                     Cecil Anderson  
Derek Hughes                    Waiter  
Gideon Jacobs                   Jimmy  
Harve Presnell                  Preston Blake  
Brandon Molale                  Kevin Ward  
John McEnroe                    Himself  
Rob Schneider                   Nazo (The Delivery Guy)
Al Sharpton                     Himself  

Director:
   Steven Brill
Producers:
   Joseph M. Caracciolo          Executive Producer  
   Adam Sandler                  Executive Producer  
   Sidney Ganis                  Producer  
   Jack Giarraputo               Producer  
   Alex Siskin                   Co-Producer  
   Allen Covert                  Associate Producer  
Writers:
   Clarence Budington Kelland    (short story Opera Hat)
   Robert Riskin                 (the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) 
   Tim Herlihy                   (screenplay) 

My thoughts:
As you can see, the usual Sandler cronies are present: Brill (four Sandler movies), Herlihy (seven, with an eighth on the way), Buscemi (four), Covert (eight, with two more in the coming year) and Giarraputo (soon to be eleven). Rob Schneider movies The Animal and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo both credit Sandler as an executive producer, and can be counted as Adam Sandler movies. It's no surprise to find that this film follows the typical arc found in nearly every Adam Sandler movie: loveable schlub with untapped talent overcomes his tragic flaw to find success and true love.

Sandler has this act down pat, he's played similar characters before. He does show more depth -- and dare I say, more heart -- here than in his previous work. Maybe it's the Capra rubbing off on this film, but there's a notable lack to toilet humor here. Turturro and Harris, both gleefully overacting their asses off, are fun to watch. Scenes with Ryder, particularly "romantic" interludes with Sandler, seem forced at times. I'm not sure if jaded New York TV producers typically look like they're constipated. Remind me to call NBC on that one, okay?

I suppose I should end this write-up with some sort of arbitrary rating. I've seen the movie twice, thus Mr. Deeds gets two ratings:
In the theater - 6 1/2 filled in squares (out of 12)
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At my computer, in 2-part AVI format, with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles - 7 1/2 filled in squares
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Sources:
Mr. Deeds (official site) - http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/mrdeeds/
the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) - http://us.imdb.com/Title?0280590

I like Adam Sandler. I think he’s funny. I can recite bits of Happy Gilmore at you until you want to garotte me. (‘You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut the hell up! Now, you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep. you’re in my world now, grandma.’ See?) I think The Wedding Singer contains moments of comic genius. Hell, I even laughed in Little Nicky, which I think displays a certain commitment to lavatorial humour.

But even I didn’t like this film.How can I make this crystal clear? If Mr Deeds was a puppy, I would drown it. If Mr Deeds was a small blond haired child with big blue eyes begging for more gruel, I would dash the bowl from his hands and send him to live on the streets. If Mr Deeds was a beautiful woman wearing naught but a thong and a dirty expression, I would tell her to cover herself up and go and sleep on the sofa. Then, while she slept, I would fetch my shotgun and -

Sorry. I’m getting carried away. Perhaps I should tell you a little about the film.

Actually, you probably already know it. Here’s roughly what happens. It’s not what I’d call strikingly original. Longfellow Deeds is just a small-time Joe in Hicksville, New England, who’s very happy quietly running his pizza place and being loved by all who know him. Then, his long-lost great uncle dies, and - guess what? - leaves our boy a huge fortune! Cue Deedsy going to the Big Apple, fish out of water shenanigans, valuable moral lessons, pretty girl, etc. John McEnroe and Al Sharpton turn up. Hilarity ensues.

Except, of course, that it doesn’t. Mr Deeds isn’t a funny film. On any level. It might be funny if you were Adam Sandler’s agent, I suppose, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s not so bad it’s good; it’s just - so bad. The comic setpieces one expects from Sandler are all there, but they’re written and performed at a level far below some of his previous work. The one-liners are technically present too, but, though they are one line long, this is really all they have in common with some of the classics from earlier in his career. (Like, ‘I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!’ ‘You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?’ Ok, two lines, but they make me laugh. Still. Which is a little embarrassing.)

The trouble with the film not being funny is that it brings all its other inadequacies into glaring relief. Sandler does not play a character; he bounces from ‘comic’ moment to moment, being pretty much the same non-entity he has been since The Waterboy and passing it off as ‘everyman’. Winona Ryder, who is usually a reasonably competent actress, is given so little to play with you wish she was doing time for that shoplifting thing. The ‘plot’ is perhaps the most risible yet from the Sandler stable, and fuller of holes than my string vest. The attempt at light romance is so formulaic it actually has a scene where the leads buy bikes off cute children and ride them through Central Park after dark. (Film world: romantic. Cute. Real world: great way to get mugged or raped.) Only John Turturro, who entirely steals the show as creepy foot-fetishist manservant Emilio, would deserve to be exempted from the slaughter of the cast and crew which would follow the release of a travesty like this in any truly civilised society.

If you like your comedies to be funny, don’t see Mr Deeds. If you like them to moralise at you, let me save you the ticket price and pass on the message: if you inherit a forty billion dollar stake in a multinational conglomerate, don’t sell out so that the bad guys can chop it up and lose 50 000 people their jobs. Instead, use your homespun wisdom (‘Ah don’t know much, but ah know theeyus: bein’ mean’s wicked wrong’ kinda thing) to convince all the shareholders that they shouldn’t be evil corporate bastards after all. Then, even though you’re still fucked, don’t worry: a dumbass deus ex machina so risible Neighbours would scorn it will save you. And although said deus ex machina means you haven’t inherited any money after all, don’t worry: you’ll get a billion dollars (and the girl of your dreams) just for being such a nice guy. Then you can go home and run your pizza place again. Hallmark might even buy one of your appalling greeting cards.

Some people would call this a spoiler, but that would require there to be something to spoil - and it’s not as if you wouldn’t see it all coming in the first three minutes anyway. Mr Deeds is a blight on humanity. Do not see this film.

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