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  Eight Crazy Nights Excrements Of The Season
Year: 2002
Director: Seth Kearsley
Stars: Adam Sandler, Jackie Sandler, Austin Stout, Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider, Norm Crosby, Jon Lovitz, Tyra Banks, Blake Clark, Peter Dante, Ellen Albertini Dow, Kevin P. Farley, Lari Friedman, Tom Kenny, Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, Carl Weathers
Genre: Comedy, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Davey (voiced by Adam Sandler) has not been a fan of the holiday season since he was a kid, for a very good reason, though he has behaved so badly in his hometown for so long that nobody really cares anymore, they simply wish he would stop. Drinking would appear to be fuelling this behaviour, but even when he is sober he makes no bones about how much he hates the world, and this has left him friendless and without much hope for the future, unless that future resides at the bottom of a bottle. At Christmastime he is worse than at any other time of the year, and as he is Jewish, the fact that Chanukah is neglected by the mostly Christian population of the town doesn't help one jot - and now he is threatened with prison.

As Sandler's most famous song is, yes, The Chanukah Song, then it seemed in the way he recycled his basic premises - or personas, at least - that he would eventually make a film dedicated to that holiday so dear to his heart, and Eight Crazy Nights, named after a line in his celebrated ditty, was that effort. For the first time he turned to animation to tell his tale, perhaps recognising that many a Christmas movie had proven durable thanks to being a cartoon, but there was a tone here that was curiously family unfriendly: it wasn't a hard R-rated comedy, so not the equivalent of Fritz the Cat, but there was still a lot of humour here that was not for little kids, and indeed as it progressed you wondered who it was for.

Teenagers, perhaps, judging by the way the jokes resembled the sort of riffing a bunch of older kids would get up to in private when parents or teachers were not around to glare at them, but finding this funny did seem to depend on a certain arrested development of one's sense of humour around adolescence. Fair enough, sometimes that can be amusing enough, even hilarious, but mixed in with the gags here was an indigestible dollop of schmaltz where after an hour of nasty quips and situations we were supposed to be wiping away a tear for the final ten minutes when Davey sees the error of his ways and reforms, predictably and in no way resembling a certain Charles Dickens story (oh, and that's correct - minus the credits this lasted barely over an hour).

Much of that sentimentality revolved around the relationship between Davey and the Good Samaritan who styles himself as his mentor, a tiny old man called Whitey who has one foot smaller than the other and speaks in a keening whine throughout, because Sandler himself provided his voice and you had to assume this was intended to make you laugh. You were not sure if this was supposed to be cute when the majority of the humour was delivered with a brash disgust at its characters, all aside from the love interest (voiced by Sandler's wife) and her son who naturally Davey had to be accepted by at the end of the film to prove he could be normal - unlike Whitey, who remained plain weird but was desperate for the approval of the townsfolk who on this ample evidence could not give a shit about him.

Talking of excrement, that was summed up in the movie's most notorious setpiece as Whitey was relegated to cleaning the portable toilets and Davey knocked one over while the seventy-year-old disabled man was still inside, covering him in the stuff and then as he clambered out dazed at the bottom of the hill, Davey sprayed him with water which froze, thereby leaving Whitey stuck until night time encased in frozen shit. It had you pondering the kind of mind that would think up a situation that went to that extreme degree in its bullying, but there was more as a herd of magical deer helped out by licking the afflicted chap clean, leaving faeces in their teeth which they grinned at the audience with. On witnessing a scene like that, you would consider it best for any comic talent to perhaps keep that sort of joke to themselves, or at least a circle of trusted confidantes, yet here was Sandler not simply telling us this but taking the time to have hardworking animators draw it and bring it to life. Oh, and it was a musical as well, only hardly anyone singing was any good at it, leaving Alison Krauss's professional vocals ludicrously sticking out like a sore thumb. As if that wasn't bad enough, we had Rob Schneider doing a "funny Chinese" accent. Chanukah deserved better than this showing up in the television schedules in December.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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