For me personally, Little Nicky is kind of a legendary movie. It’s a film I’ve often referenced on my blog as a spot-on example on how to make bad movies and the reason is that a friend of mine would constantly refer to Adam Sandler‘s 2001 tsunami of idiocy as one of the best comedies in the world. My intense desire to explain why he was wrong is what motivated me to start writing about film and finally start this blog you see before you.
But I never returned to Little Nicky and gave it the review it deserved, and I just recently thought that I should finally give in and write it. The plot – Sandler plays the son of Satan (How could you go wrong?), Nicky, who is your typical incompetent “Minion with an F in Evil” who has no intention to seize the throne after his father (played by Harvey Keitel, who frankly oughta know better), even though he likes Nicky more than his other two sons, Adrian (Rhys Ifans) and Cassius (Tom Lister Jr.). Also, it should be noted that Nicky was hit with a shovel by the latter brother, which gave him a speech impediment which the writers mistook as funny.
The two jealous brothers ascend to Earth to create a new Hell, causing Satan to send Nicky up there as well on a mission to stop them. Too bad he keeps dying and going back to Hell, though. But with the help of a talking dog – yes, a talking dog – voiced by Robert Smigel, he learns to adapt to the rules of the human world. He also gets a new roommate named Todd (Allan Covert), two friends, Satanist metalheads John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter (Peter Dante) and finally a love interest, played by Patricia Arquette. There’s also this one demon with boobies on his head (Kevin Nealon), who enjoys getting them fondled by a large Chewbacca-looking creature. Because why the bleeding heck not?
Additional and mostly useless characters are played by the likes of Rodney Dangerfield as Lucifer, Reese Witherspoon as one of many annoying angel-characters (also Nicky’s mom, ironically), Laura Harring and Blake Clarke. Then there’s some cameos by Ozzy Osbourne, Jon Lovitz, Quentin Tarantino and of course, Rob Schneider. Because the movie just wasn’t irritating enough already.
One of the bigger laughs in the movie is when one of the inhabitants of Hell is shown getting punished. Namely, it’s Adolf Hitler wearing a dress getting an pineapple inserted into his rectum, but not before asking the devil if he’s being “schnerious”. I don’t know if I laughed because I actually found it absurd, or if I laughed at the forced attempt to be as absurd as possible. Either way, it’s a relatively watchable scene. Relatively.
It should be known that Little Nicky isn’t as lousy as I might have made it out to be, but it is certainly a miscalculation and a film that could’ve been better if the premise was handled with more skill. The idea of a hell-spawn ascending to Earth, failing to cause fear and instead just have a hard time getting used to how the real world works is something that would be funny to see. That is, if it didn’t feature Adam Sandler doing a stupid voice, a constantly urinating dog and Rodney Dangerfield making perverted jokes.
Maybe if it was a truly black and adult comedy that didn’t try so hard on the toilet humour, then it might have worked. Maybe if the budget allowed them to create better sets to pass off as Hell? I’ve seen more convincing infernos at theme parks. Maybe if the movie knew better how to use these talented actors involved? Indeed, there are lot of things the director Steven Brill could have done better. Also, he dedicated this movie to Chris Farley after his death in ’97. I’m not sure how flattered the ghost of Farley is.
Little Nicky is a series of immature “jokes”, toilet-related humour, exasperating performances and multiple scenes involving a bodily fluid that seems to be a fetish for untalented comedians, all of which is punctuated by the occasional rock song. Van Halen, Linkin Park, Osbourne again, AC/DC, Scorpions – you name it. If I claimed to find it all very entertaining, I’d tell a lie. It is based on a fun idea but the idea requires a better executioner. It could be worse, but it could also be better, surely.
And as for how this particular film and its one stubborn fanboy got me into writing, many people might incorrectly think I was bullying the person who kept praising it only because he disagreed with me and that I was therfor being arrogant for thinking someone is stupid for liking a certain film. You got it wrong, though. I don’t think anyone is stupid for liking a certain film. I do however think people who fail to recognize that one who more professionally can motivate and put into words what makes a bad film bad and a good film good than one whose only counterarguments are a bunch of swears and “you’re wrong” probably understands film better are, well, most presumably not very bright.
What follows is the trailer and my rating: