He Said/She Said #20: Mr. Deeds (2002)


by: Nathan Swank and Rebeca Surber

He Said/She Said is a weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.


I don’t know what happened to Adam Sandler.  For the record, I think he is a talented guy.  He showed so much promise on SNL.  Then he went on to Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, which I love.  Then to a lesser extent he had the Wedding Singer.  Then the films started to go down hill- I know I’m in the minority when I say BIG DADDY was just ok.  After that everything his Happy Madison Company produces is awful (THE HOT CHICK, BENCHWARMERS, YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN) save for a few funny moments…and GRANDMA’S BOY.  But regardless if you disagree with my take on his films as a whole lets look at them one by one and today let’s start with MR. DEEDS.

Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder in Mr. Deeds

The jokes are so forced and sophomoric (a kitty landing safely in an afro), which don’t get me wrong I can appreciate at times but it’s as if no effort was given at all.  I can respect that Sandler uses all of his friends in his movies, giving them work, making them money but it also proves the point that he may not be trying to make anything of quality rather than just goof off with friends.  I’m okay with that as well, but lets not pretend that the work they are doing is good. Winona Ryder is completely out of her element. And using the term “wicked” before every comment doesn’t mean you’re using a funny New England accent.  But I’m obviously missing something because his films keep raking in the dough

Adam Sandler and John Turturro in Mr. Deeds

The laughs all seem pretty cheap (Crazy Eyes likes pizza with odd combinations).  We’ve progressed too far with comedies to waste our time with these cheap laughs.  Why pick this one to watch, when it lacks cleverness, creativity and humor.  If a 4 year old wrote these jokes I would find it funny and I would giggle because it’s cute what a little girl finds funny.  Kids do say the darndest things; unfortunately successful adults wrote these darndest things, which make it more sad than funny.  On a positive note it does give everyone out there without originality or wit, hope that they too can live the dream of getting paid to produce crap.


Being a tried and true Adam Sandler fan, from his SNL days and early films (GOING OVERBOARD) I am always excited to see Sandler and his Happy Madison entourage in new movies. MR. DEEDS is the story of an absurdly wealthy gentleman, Preston Blake, dying as he climbs Mount Everest without a will thereby leaving his 40-billion dollar fortune to his long lost great-nephew, pizza shop owner Longfellow Deeds (Sandler). Deeds must survive those who try to swindle the small-town heir out of his money; from the executives at his great-uncle’s company (Peter Gallagher and Erick Avari) to a tabloid television anchor (Winona Ryder) and her producer.  Gallagher (and his fantastic eyebrows) is a superb ‘villain’; his character is overacted to the perfect degree when compared to Sandler’s nice guy routine. It is fun to see Ryder (REALITY BITES, BEETLEJUICE) tackling a goof-off role and having a good time playing opposite of Sandler.

Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder in Mr. Deeds

Always willing to help, Deeds’ do-good actions tend to get him into trouble thanks to the undercover camera footage carefully edited by Rider’s character, Babe Bennett.  This movie is fun, easy and loaded with laughs. Sandler does the typical performance that I always love, including the random and unnecessary wicked sick ‘black foot’. His character’s desire to be a greeting card writer for Hallmark is hysterical, but my favorite character in this movie is John Turturro’s Emilio, butler to the late Preston Blake. Emilio’s “sneaky-sneaky” tag line and desire to change everyone’s socks is hilarious.  Seeing the rest of the Sandler crew in tow is fun – you never know which role his pals will assume in these films.

Adam Sandler and Peter Gallagher in Mr. Deeds

The hokey ending to this movie, where everyone chimes in with what they wanted to be when they grew up, is a bit off and totally overacted but it makes me grin nonetheless.

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