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ADAM SANDLER’S EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS

Hot off critical acclaim for his "serious" role in Punch-Drunk Love, Adam Sandler spins his raspy, bemusing Hanukkah song into a holiday fable of sorts. Unfortunately, the animated experiment steps out like Happy Gilmore auditioning for an episode of Jackass. Davey Stone is a 33-year-old bum — Jewish trailer trash, if you will — who’s primed for jail after a litany of lewd drunken infractions. He’s rescued from incarceration by a Yoda-esque septuagenarian named Whitey on condition that he help referee a youth basketball league.

The snowy township of Dukesberry is an obvious nod to Sandler’s New Hampshire upbringing, and the pivotal shopping mall is a haunting, water-colored clone of the Cambridgeside Galleria. The material, conceived by Sandler and directed by Seth Kearsley, falters early, but as Davey nears his epiphany it does blossom into the heartwarming realm of Dickens and Capra. And Sandler seizes on the archetypes for some uproarious musical numbers: not only does the former SNL standout write and sing, he also voices the three main characters; Davey, Whitey, and Whitey’s fraternal sister, Eleanor, who’s "Audrey Hepburn, if she was four feet tall and 300 pounds." (71m)

BY TOM MEEK

Issue Date: November 28 - December 5, 2002
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