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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • 21 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Teaser trailer
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Audio commentary - Filmmakers & cast
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - School for Hard Knocks - POD
  • 2 Documentaries - Adam Sandler Goes to Hell (30mins) & Satan's Top Forty - Heavy Metal (18mins)
  • Filmographies

Little Nicky

New Line/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 87 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Personally I find Adam Sandler rather curious. He basically manages to play what amounts to the same role in everything he does, the Jerry Lewis-like loser dork who always wins out in the end, be it in Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Big Daddy or even my personal favourite work of his, The Wedding Singer. Yet regardless of the similarities in these roles, there seems to be this fine line of vulgarity he either crosses or he doesn't, so that sometimes it can all be just a little bit too much.

Occasionally Little Nicky definitely crosses that line - breasts growing from heads, pineapples being stuck up a posterior (although the recipient deserves absolutely no sympathy whatsoever) and children crying out for "beer and bitches", however generally it sticks nicely to the aforementioned line and grosses out without grossing out too much. Meanwhile, in a pub somewhere there's a guy citing these scenes I just singled out as the highlights of the film...

As per usual Sandler has roped in a bunch of his famous mates, including the likes of Saturday Night Live alumni such as Dana Carvey and Kevin Neiland, one joke maestro Rodney Dangerfield, slimier than the slimiest slimy thing in the world Jon Lovitz, the Fonz himself Henry Winkler, Rob Schneider, Michael Spinal Tap McKean and even Reese Witherspoon in a rather angelic role. I guess considering some of the names there that the rather blue notes the film often emits were somehow inevitable. Anyway...

After ruling the underworld for 10,000 years, Satan (Harvey Keitel hamming it up superbly, and mercifully keeping his willy in his trousers for a change) is considering abdicating his position to one of his three spawn - Cassius (Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Jr), Adrian (Rhys Ifans, whose English accent gives that wonderful extra air of supreme baddiness) or little Nicky, the speech-impeded, squishy-faced metalhead runt of the litter. Considering none of his sons suitable for taking over the family business, Satan decides to keep it up for another 10,000 years, incurring the wrath of Cassius and Adrian, whilst Nicky, not being into evil, torture and all that stuff seems quite ambivalent about it all. But when his two big brothers escape from Hell to set up their very own Hell on Earth, leaving the gates to the underworld frozen so no new souls can enter and their father literally falling apart, it is up to him to save the day.

Despatched upstairs to New York (Hell, NY, the only difference is the yellow cabs), Nicky suffers a few false starts as he gets a crash course in human-like survival, aided and abetted by a rather ugly talking bulldog minder named Beefy. He has less than a week to find his siblings and bottle them in a rather natty silver flask, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that they could be in anybody (now stop that sniggering!). And they're enjoying themselves too, playing havoc with everybody from good church-goin' folk to Harlem Globetrotters fans, as they wend their fwightfully wicked ways.

Finding a place to live, attracting two dopey, dopehead Satan worshippers and, as the Sandler blueprint always demands, falling in love with a gorgeous but dorky woman (Valerie, played rather well by Patricia Arquette), Nicky bumbles his way along in his quest to thwart his brothers' naughty plans and to save his father, facing everything from thieving sidewalk peddlers to mobs after his head (a 50 million dollar reward proffered by one of his brothers posing as the Mayor being a rather sweet incentive) and a blind religious zealot (a typically, but suitably OTT Quentin Tarantino). There's also an almost gorgeous Peter Pan and Wendy moment for Nicky and Valerie, plus a quick, but enlightening, heavenly diversion.

So can little Nicky save the day? Come on, with the help of Ozzy Osbourne doing what he does best, what do you think?!

  Video
Contract

Now why did they film that wire gate? Absolutely the only fault I could find with this 1.85:1 anamorphically enhanced transfer was a second or so of aliasing on said gate. Other than that this is absolutely sumptuous. From the full-on reds of Hell, to the gritty greyness of New York to the pastel paradise of Heaven, this print is detailed and anything but satanic. Curiously the layer change comes right at the end of the film, just before the credits roll. Visually it's fine, however it does make a bit of a mess of the sound for a split second. Aaah yes, the sound...

  Audio
Contract

I must confess that this is my first review of a DTS disc, so I hope I'll be forgiven if I tend to wow a bit too much. Right from the start I found the sound mix absolutely riveting; in fact even on sampling the 5.1 track included here I was rapt (and to be honest I couldn't detect a stunning amount of difference between the two). From the many rumbles of Hell and thumps and crunches sending shockwaves through my couch-bound behind, to the many effects shooming all about my head this soundtrack certainly cannot be accused of being lazy, or indeed of ignoring any of the speakers or the subwoofwoof. Channel separation was great, there are no lip-synch issues (they even did a pretty darned bang-up job with the dog's lines) and dialogue levels were perfectly balanced with the effects and soundtrack.

Speaking of the soundtrack, if they had stuck every song used in the film on the CD it would have had to be a box set. From the expected metallic tracks by the likes of Linkin Park, Filter, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne and the inevitable Acca Dacca (go on - guess which song!), to the more rawk stuff like the brilliant Dandy Warhols, the band who do Radiohead better than Radiohead do nowadays Muse, the Foo Fighters and the Deftones to a mixed bag of stuff from the likes of Cypress Hill, Kool and the Gang, Sinead O'Connor, Doris Day and even Stacey Q (whose name I ashamedly admit to remembering the second Two of Hearts fired up), there's got to be something here for everybody.

  Extras
Contract

Starting off with some suitably hellish animated menus, Little Nicky boasts a veritable treasure trove of extras for any Sandlerphile to completely soil their pants over...

Commentary - Filmmakers: The three writers, Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy and Steve Brill, all having a seeming whale of a time in a rather fun commentary track. There's barely a chance for silence to get a word in, and the three have a great rapport, obviously revelling in seeing their creation again and reminiscing. Occasionally obvious (we can see what's happening guys!), generally they tend to go off into informative tangents relating to the actors, writing process etc, as well as tales about the temptations of dog willies and attempts to corrupt little old ladies.

Commentary - Cast: Held together by Michael McKean, almost any of the actors from the film you can name pop by at some stage for a chinwag, including the likes of Jon Lovitz, Henry Winkler, Peter Dante (how could he not get a role in this film with that name?), Jonathan Loughran, Kevin Neiland, Blake Clark, Clint Howard and the man himself, Ozzy Osbourne - who is definitely worth waiting around for. A bit of a We Love Adam-fest at times, this is another enjoyable commentary featuring a who's who of US comedic talent. Strangely it is also bleeped at certain times, which seems rather out of place on a disc such as this - unless they were just mucking around, as it was a little difficult to tell.

Documentary - Adam Sandler Goes to Hell: 32 minutes of 1.85:1 special. Presented in Dolby Stereo, this contains the usual plethora of behind the scenes footage, clips from the film and interviews with cast members - ranging from Adam himself through to many of his mates that he admits writing parts especially for.

Documentary - Satan's Top 40: An almost 18-minute long ode to heavy metal, featuring interviews with everybody from rock historians to Gene Simmons of Kiss (sans makeup - ARGH!!!), Ronnie James Dio (who I believe was once in Rainbow with some bloke from Deep Purple, and also went wussy for that Butterfly Ball song) and one of the scene-stealers of the film itself, Ozzy Osbourne. Also presented in a ratio of 1.85:1 and Dolby Stereo, metalheads will most likely be in absolute heaven with this - which I guess is kind of ironic when you think about it...

Music video - School of Hard Knocks - P.O.D.: Four minutes long, full frame and Dolby Stereo sound, yes, this is indeed a video clip for said song.

Deleted scenes: Not one, nor two - not even three, but 21 snips in all, individually selectable or playable in one big lump. Ranging from extended scenes from the final cut to some genuinely funny stuff (who hasnít wanted at some stage to through a telly out a window?) to the just plain dumb and the unnecessarily violent. Coming to us in 1.85:1, the video quality is excellent, although the only sonic option is Dolby Stereo. Oh, and it's all worth a peek simply to marvel at the sight of Harvey Keitel playing air guitar.

Trailers: Four in all, all in 1.85, all with Dolby 5.1 sound, and all in wonderful, clean, crisp and clear shape. There are two just over two minutes long international trailers, plus two sub-one minute teasers included here.

Filmographies: No bios, just lists of films (including the roles played) for Sandler, Arquette, Keitel, Ifans, Tiny, Dangerfield and director Steven Brill.

Dolby trailer: The soggy one.

DTS trailer: The rather boring piano one.

Easter egg: Oh my goodness, I actually found an Easter egg for myself! What a shame it's so utterly bleah then - some dreadfully turgid metal song with an equally horrific clip. I have no idea what it is, and to be honest I will sleep none the less sounder for not knowing. I won't give it away, but hey, if I can find it then I'm sure that you can!

  Overall  
Contract

It probably goes without saying that Adam Sandler films are by no means everybody's cup of tea. Generally they are puerile and more often than not quite base, however unlike many of his contemporaries he has this skill for keeping a shred of humanity and often even genuine pathos in his work that can make them appeal to more than just the spotty teenage bong-sucking members of our society.

Little Nicky follows Sandler's formula pretty much to the letter, so whilst certainly not his greatest work if you dig his previous stuff you're sure to get off on this. Disc-wise it is exemplary - nothing short of stunning visually and sonically, and almost bursting at the seams with mostly excellent quality extras. If you're a fan of the man's work then donít think twice, there are hours and hours of entertainment in store for you, which isnít bad considering that the film (without credits) clocks in at a rather brief 79 minutes. If you find his stuff hit and miss, or are simply ambivalent you may find this at least worthy of a rent. Whilst there are some bits that push the sick-envelope too far for this little reviewer, there are many genuinely laugh-out-loud funny moments, and some wonderful performances from a cavalcade of renowned comic talent.

And "Ha!" I knew it all along, that seriously hideous '70s bland, erm band, Chicago WERE indeed evil!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=719
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      And I quote...
    "Nothing short of stunning visually and sonically, and almost bursting at the seams with mostly excellent quality extras, if you dig Sandler's previous stuff you're sure to get off on this..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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