Bottom Line: Light the menorah and burn this worthless “comedy”!
Directed by: Seth Kearsley
Featuring the Voices of: Adam Sandler, Austin Stout, Jackie Titone, Rob Schneider
“My comedy is different every time I do it. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.” –Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights does to Chanukah the same disservice that was shot at Christmas by debacles like Jingle All the Way and Deck the Halls. What’s so unfortunate about this is that I can’t think of many other Chanukah-centric films. Are there, or is it all A Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street? The film is such a disgrace, and it fails to recognize its own audience. As does the rest of Sandler’s work, this “comedy” runs wild with lewd and vulgar jokes that either revolve around bowel movements, sex, or that which offends. I can imagine an elementary schooler enjoying the juvenile schadenfreude presented here, but it’s torture for anyone as mature as Mr. Sandler should be. Not only is it boring, it’s offensive. If you happen to be Caucasian, Christian, African-American, Asian, elderly, epileptic, obese, female, alcoholic, and/or unintelligent, please avoid this multi-offense at all costs.
Eight Crazy Nights isn’t uninspired. It’s inspired by Sandler’s own “Chanukah Song”. It is a great holiday tune indeed, but it’s not even five minutes long, and it carries no real story. Just like this abysmal result, an animated attempt at a musical, just over an hour long. But it feels much longer, dare I say eight crazy nights long. The plot works off one single line from the song: “Some people say that Ebenezer Scrooge is [a Jew].” And it just dumbs down, down, down. Since emotion has been proven to be a cerebral concept, I guess you could say the film was thought-provoking. I felt bad for Charles Dickens as I watched this: Scrooge, his timeless character in A Christmas Carol, was subjected to one of the hugest holiday bastardizations I’ve ever seen. I cringe to think that Dickens has aneurysms in his grave every time someone wastes their precious time with Sandler’s version instead of simply picking up his outstanding literary work. Scrooge’s name here is Davey. He’s a foul-mouthed punk who hates Christmas just as much as everyone in town hates him (which is quite a lot). He’s Jewish, and during the season of Chanukah, he’s virtually alone celebrating, while everyone else is at the mall shopping for Christmas presents. He used to be a big-shot basketball player back in high school, but his dreams of excelling even higher were demolished by alcohol, alcohol, and gallons more alcohol. So he suddenly re-encounters his former basketball coach, Whitey. This old man is making every attempt to help the alcoholic get through the “Festival of Lights” in an optimistic way, but it’s hopeless. Davey, who frequently and nonchalantly refers to himself as the “town buffoon,” cannot live a simple eight days without insulting, complaining, and ruining holiday cheer. Similarly, the film itself washes away even the slightest trace of euphoria like a sea of Wite-Out.
To call Eight Crazy Nights a “comedy” is a dangerous task. Especially having seen it, it’s not a very easy one either. One or two “jokes” earned a breath of laughter out of me, but I struggle to remember what it was I was laughing at. If it’s that easy to forget the film altogether, then I beg for such relief. This is a film that takes a detestable maniac and tries to make us side with him through song, dance, idiocy, crime, and just about every movie cliché to make it that much more predictable. We can hardly side with him when we’re seeing a sloppy tale of “down-on-his-luck nimrod goes on a journey through his neighborhood, harasses everyone in sight, and somehow finds a few ounces of holiday spirit inside of him, thinking it was alcohol”. Even if it’s shown from the protagonist’s own perspective, we’ve seen it all before countless times. Are we supposed to believe such a story? Are we supposed to feel “moved” when Sandler trades morals for crassly exploited humans? I guess you could say I feel moved. It moved me off my couch and to a quiet room where I could ask myself, “Why in the hell did I decide to waste my time with this one?”