|Writers:||Stephen Brill, Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler|
|New Line Cinema; 84 minutes; PG-13|
|Cast:||Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel|
As far as Adam Sandler movies go, Little Nicky might be the most, er, accessible. Its ratio of potty humor to enjoyable gag is normal, but a funny setup heightens the good moments. Slightly.
Satan (Harvey Keitel) has just announced that he's gonna stay in office for another 10,000 years. Faithful son Nicky (Adam Sandler) is proud of pops, but two older brothers wish to usurp the dark throne. In protest, they freeze the gates and take off for New York to raise some Hell.
The Saturday Night Live recipe of celeb cameos and gag-based movie-making is in full effect here. But with one unusual turn: Sandler plays the straight guy. Nicky's the good son who tries hard to adjust to Earth conditions (with the aid of a talking bulldog) and return his prodigal brothers to the home fires. There's something amusing about Patricia Arquette's fashion student falling in love with the devil's son. Keitel's enjoyable as the Prince of Darkness, and Reese Witherspoon as Nicky's angelic mom works well.
Make no mistakes—Little Nicky is a Sandler movie. Adolescent humor abounds. Somebody sprouts breasts out of his head. Then come jokes about wheelchair-bound quadriplegics. Sandler and fellow scriptwriters follow the maxim that evil always wins by soiling some good laughs with very bad ones.