Former Saturday Night Live cast members have a tendency to stick together – a fact that is most evident in movies by Adam Sandler. Sandler’s newest project, Little Nicky, is no exception.
In the first scene of Little Nicky, former SNL star Jon Lovitz falls straight into the hands of the devil as he spies on an innocent woman. This hilarious opening gives Little Nicky, directed by Steven Brill (The Wedding Singer), a head start to win over its audience. The movie, the newest Adam Sandler film since Big Daddy, continues on its hilarious beginning.
The devil, played by Harvey Keitel (U-571), tricks his three sons, Adrian, Cassius and Nicky, by telling them he is about to pass down his crown. But he really elects himself to reign for the next 10,000 years.
Angered by their father’s decision, Adrian, played by Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), and Cassius, played by Tom Tiny Lister (Friday), decide to create their own evil. They push over hell’s gatekeeper, played by SNL’s Kevin Nealon, and jump the wrong way through the entrance of hell. This mistake prevents the devil from receiving new souls.
Nicky, played by Adam Sandler (Big Daddy), is the gentile son sent by default to find his brothers and save his father’s life. On earth, Nicky gets help from a talking bulldog that shows him the ropes of New York by getting him an apartment with a theater-obsessed roommate named Todd, played by Adam Covert (The Waterboy). The movie brings hunched-over, scrunch-faced Nicky to the city, where he learns to sleep and eat Popeye’s Chicken. After returning back to hell a few times, Nicky learns he has to release the evil in his brothers. Nicky falls in love with Valerie, played by Patricia Arquette (Bringing Out The Dead), during his adventure.
Adrian and Cassius wander the Big Apple possessing different bodies and spreading evil throughout the city. Nicky defeats a Cassius-possessed referee, played by Dana Carvey (Saturday Night Live), in a one-on-one basketball match, leaving only Adrian for Nicky to confront. The rest of the movie centers on Nicky’s quest to defeat Adrian.
Quentin Tarantino (From Dusk `Til Dawn) livens up the action in a cameo appearance as a priest who can feel Nicky’s devilish presence. Rob Schneider, Henry Winkler and Dan Marino also make cameo appearances.
Little Nicky is overflowing with opportunities to make the audience laugh. Arquette plays the perfect, innocent and naive girlfriend, and Reese Witherspoon (Election) nails her role as Nicky’s ditzy Mom from heaven.
The movie could spark controversy over Nicky’s slow speech and mannerisms, which make him seem physically challenged. The fine line between humor and reality is blurred as Sandler comes close to mocking physically handicapped people.
Although the movie follows a silly plot line, it keeps the attention of the viewer and shows them a good time. Little Nicky continues to prove that Adam Sandler can become a different actor in each of his movies, building on his acting accomplishments in Billy Madison and The Wedding Singer.
Surrounded by former SNL stars and references to Chris Farley, Adam Sandler sticks to his roots – still co-writing most of his films with his former college roommate Tim Herlihy. Sandler and Herlihy do something right with Little Nicky, which becomes part of the consistent phenomena of Sandler films that dominate pop-culture humor.