The movie will make you laugh. The ending will make you cry.
Anger Management (2003): 6 out of 10: Having a bad ending has torpedoed more than one film experience. The Village’s twist was a groaner, and the last scene of The Last Samurai knocked it down a rung or two. But in a comedy?
Comedy is about laughter during the journey, not the story’s conclusion. None of our best comedies are known for their finales. Meet the Parents left with a comparative whimper, There’s Something About Mary’s ending is forgettable, and the bombastic over the top noise of say The Blues Brothers or Caddyshack wasn’t for everyone. (The exception to this rule is the wonderful Stay Puft Marshmallow Man payoff from Ghostbusters.)
Unlike thrillers or drama, comedy rarely invests enough in the plot to begin with for the ending to matter all that much. And an Adam Sandler comedy lets face it, has less plot than most. (Or at the very least the same plot and characters repeatedly. Sandler, is the Jim Varney of Long Island nerds.)So creating a disaster this momentous you first need a good hour and change of comedy (rare enough esp. with Mr. Sandler on board) then you need an ending so stupendously bad it erases the laughter.
Welcome to Anger Management. First the good news. This movie has some funny bits. The bad news well let us start with the last 15 minutes absolutely feel-good romantic awfulness with enough celebrity cameos that could sink the Titanic, wipe out any goodwill one feels towards former Mayor Giuliani of New York and embarrass one to be a Yankee fan. Add on a plot device at the end that wouldn’t be out of place in a Deanna Durbin film and let the jaw-dropping awfulness begin.
The last 15 minutes aside, this movie has some hilarious bits. Even stupid stuff like sweaters for overweight cats worked for me. Now that’s rare. The set-up is pure gold, and the cast is great.
Sandler is easily the weakest of the bunch. (Luis Guzmán and John Turturro’s characters needed their own movie, and it was great seeing Jack be Jack again after that slog that was About Schmidt. Sandler knows how to do cruel. Anger Management was such a good concept and had such a funny execution that it demanded a dark cruel outburst of energy at the end, not this indescribably painful schmaltz.