After Adam Sandler made a name of himself as an SNL cast member to transitioning into popular films like “Billy Madison,” “Airheads,” “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer” & “Big Daddy,” he went on to establish a film company called “Happy Madison Productions.” The company’s first entry is a Rob Schneider film called, “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo” after failing to earn positive reviews from critics and managed to make enough money at the box office, Adam & his friends co-wrote and produced a script known as “Little Nicky.”
Little Nicky was released in 2000. (same year Unbreakable came out) It received an overwhelming amount of negative reviews from critics and failed to make a profit at the box office before “Jack & Jill” surpassed this film as Adam Sandler’s worst movie to date.
It went on to earn Razzie nominations at “The 21st Golden Raspberry Awards” winning nothing due to John Travota’s critical and box office flop, “Battlefield Earth” earning its crowning achievement as the worst movie of 2000. In recent years, Little Nicky went on to become a cult classic among Adam Sandler fans.
Prior to voicing Dracula in “Hotel Transylvania,” Adam played the youngest son of Satan who’s task to track down his older brothers by trying to persuade them back to Hell in order to save his father from slowly deteriorating.
Now that “Hotel Transylvania 3” is earning early reviews, I thought about looking back at this movie because Adam’s role in Little Nicky marked the first time he played a demonic character way before he voiced a vampire.
This review contains crucial SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen this movie, read at your own risk.
Good & Evil Qualities
Good: Despite an annoying accent, Adam Sandler did a laugh out loud performance as the title character, there’s an explanation why he has a speech impediment. He also co-wrote the script.
Other Cast Members such as Robert Smigel, (Triumph The Insult Comic) Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. (Deebo from Friday) Rhys Ifrans, (Luna Lovegood’s dad from Harry Potter) Patricia Arquette, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Jonathan Loughran, Kevin Nealon, Harvey Keitel & Rodney Dangefield all did a good job for their respective performances. WHOO WEE that’s a truckload of actors! No wonder the film’s budget skyrocketed to $85 million!
Rob Schneider, Regis Philbin, Carl Weathers, Dana Carvey, John Witherspoon, Keri Russell, Michael McKean, Reese Witherspoon, Clint Howard, Henry Winkler, Quentin Tarantino & Ozzy Osbourne appear in small roles or cameos.
Fun Fact: Harvey Keitel, Patricia Arquette & Rodney Dangerfield participated in a movie related to Quentin Tarantino. Adam Sandler was considered for Eli Roth’s role as “The Bear Jew” in “Inglorious Basterds,” Adam declined the part in favor of working with his former roommate, Judd Apatow in “Funny People.”
Humor managed to laugh my butt off, back when Adam’s style of comedy was relevant. He’s known for his use of animals, the elderly, children etc. as the butt of jokes.
Allen Covert’s character Todd has posters of Hitchcock films such as “Psycho” & “The Birds.” He also claims that “Scarface” is the third best film directed by Brian De Palma. Speaking of Scarface, Al Pacino went on to co-star with Adam Sandler in “Jack & Jill.”
One of Adam’s trademarks is using 60’s 70’s & 80’s & 90’s rock music before James Gunn made his own “Awesome Mix” from “Guardians Of The Galaxy.” If you’re a Foo Fighters fan, “Everlong” is played briefly.
A Pause Worthy Moment of Nicky’s room filled with numerous posters of heavy metal bands. Again, Adam is known for including rock music in his films and he’s a real life metalhead.
During a “Where Are They Now” montage, the film dedicates the memory of Adam’s close friend/SNL colleague Chris Farley.
Callbacks and future references are connected to Adam Sandler filmography and comedy albums. Examples like Dana Carvey’s cameo as a referee named “Whitey” foreshadows the tiny old man from Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights” as well as hearing his voice in one of Adam’s albums, Carl Weathers’ character Chubbs from Happy Gilmore is now in Heaven after his accidental death, Rob Schneider’s cameo is an obvious callback to “The Waterboy,” Jon Lovitz role as a peeping tom is a reference to another comedy album. Does this mean that most of Adam Sandler’s movies is one of the first modern day cinematic universes prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, (MCU for short) besides Kevin Smith’s “View Askewinverse” with Jay & Silent Bob as the poster boys appearing in each entry?
Evil: A Plot Hole involving Satan not actually hiring a professional hunter like Al Simmons/Spawn or Ghost Rider to track down his sons instead of sending his good hearted son to do all the dirty work. The Devil himself in the Happy Madison Cinematic Universe (HMCU for short) is too stupid to hire a professional demon hunter.
Another Plot Hole also involves why Nicky’s grandpa Lucifer didn’t fill in Satan’s role as a temporary ruler. No wonder most professionals in the HMCU are incredibly stupid like Fry from “Futurama.”
An early romance unexpectedly occurred when Nicky somehow managed to hook up with a girl named Valerie in just two days. In real life, it’ll take several weeks for two people to get to know each other until a relationship has properly fleshed out.
In every Adam Sandler tradition, Product Placement heavily features specific brands including Coca-Cola, Popeye’s Chicken, K-Mart, Gatorade, Blockbuster, FedEx & Adidas. Adam has an unhealthy obsession with Product Placement.
One of the trailers from the film unintentionally gave away the true identity of Nicky’s mom.
C.G.I. doesn’t hold up pretty well for a movie that came out in 2000. Most the depiction of Hell reminded me of the god awful Computer Animation from the 1997 clunker Spawn.
Rodney Dangerfield’s last onscreen role (correct me if I’m wrong) as Lucifer, didn’t factor in as much, he just showed up on set so he can make Adam laugh as he considers Rodney as one of his inspirations in comedy. Come on Adam show him respect! Rodney is one of my favorite comedians for Big Pete’s sake!
The Final Verdict: C, FOR CONFUSED & NOT AMUSED!
Little Nicky is a mixed concoction resulting in a good or bad moment, some made me laugh and some made me want to stand in corner, losing my brain cells and think about what I just witnessed. I’m gonna assume that Little Nicky was a failed attempt to spawn a successful franchise if you count action figures and a video game for the Game Boy. Adam finally made it to a better franchise as Dracula in the Hotel Transylvania series. If you want to watch a better movie with Adam as a non-human character with a human appearance, I recommend Hotel Transylvania and its sequel if you’re eager to see the third movie.
R.I.P. Rodney Dangerfield thank you for the laughs.