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After a misunderstanding aboard an airplane that escalates out of control, the mild-mannered Dave Buznik is ordered by Judge Daniels to attend anger management sessions run by Doctor Buddy Rydell, which are filled with highly eccentric and volatile men and women. Buddy's unorthodox approach to therapy is confrontational and abrasive and Dave is bewildered by it. Then, after yet another mishap, Judge Daniels orders Dave to step up his therapy or wind up in jail. So, Buddy moves in with Dave to help him battle his inner demons. Buddy himself has no inner demons since he acts out at every opportunity and that includes making lewd comments about Dave's girlfriend Linda and goading Dave into confronting every slight, past or present, head-on. But Buddy finally goes too far and Dave must decide whether to crawl back into his shell or stand up for himself. Could it be that Buddy's confounding and contradictory treatment is just what the doctor ordered?
For more about Anger Management and the Anger Management Blu-ray release, see Anger Management Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 1, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzmán, Allen Covert, Lynne Thigpen
Director: Peter Segal
» See full cast & crew
Anger Management Blu-ray Review
You won't need therapy after watching this Sandler/Nicholson comedy.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 1, 2008
There are two kinds of angry people: explosive and implosive...Implosive is the cashier, who remains quiet day after day and finally shoots everyone in the store. You're the cashier.
If you've followed my reviews, you may remember me mentioning more than once that I'm not partial to the style of comedy we're seeing dominate this first decade of the 21st century. I'm not sure what the last great comedy is, maybe 1999's Office Space, a film that doesn't rely on toilet humor and sex jokes (well, except for Drew) to be "funny," but rather derives its comedy from seemingly real, everyday people and situations that many of us can relate to (and even if we can't the movie is still hilarious). Anger Management is another film that's easy to associate oneself with. In a world of hyper-sensitivity, where one completely innocent yet wrong word or glance can get you fired, prosecuted, or worse, Anger Management fits the bill and allows its audience the chance to relax and laugh at the absurdity that is part of the world we live in.
Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler, Reign Over Me), a designer of clothes for obese cats, finds himself sitting on a plane next to anger management therapist Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). The chatty Dr. Rydell oddly insists (and persists) that Dave watch the in-flight movie. Irritated that the good Doctor won't let him sleep, Dave asks for a set of headphones so he can hear the movie. When he must ask the stewardess (sorry, "flight attendant") several times (very calmly, mind you), she insists he is becoming abusive and unruly. Eventually, an air marshall uses a taser to shock Dave into submission. Dave is sentenced to 20 hours of anger management classes in court, and lo and behold, he is assigned none other than Dr. Rydell. After the first session, Dave is teamed up with an "anger ally," Chuck (John Turturro, Secret Window), a veteran of the American military action in Grenada. To make matters worse, Dave and Chuck become involved in an altercation at a bar where Dave strikes a waitress. Dave is sentenced to one year in prison but Dr. Rydell convinces the judge to allow Dave to enter the Doctor's intensive 30-day anger management program. This program involves Rydell moving in with Dave, sleeping in his bed, going to work with him, and even getting all-too-close to Dave's girlfriend, Linda (Marisa Tomei, War, Inc.). Will Dave finally lose control, throw Rydell out of his life, and ruin his relationship with Linda, or will he learn a valuable life lesson under the tutelage of Dr. Rydell?
If comedies can actually make me laugh (and most don't) even a few times I consider them a success, and I found myself laughing out loud several times during Anger Management. I even found myself laughing the day after I watched it while grabbing screenshots from the movie -- with the sound turned down! Despite the laughs, the movie does seem to drag a bit in several spots, but it never becomes so slow as to take you out of the film. Jack Nicholson, as expected, is hilarious. A scene early in the film where he is laughing at the in-flight movie is comedy gold. Simply watching him laugh made me laugh uncontrollably; the energy he brings to every scene, his comedic timing and touch, and his persona, combine to create a natural fit in this style of movie. Adam Sandler is also effective, but despite his long history of playing the lead in several successful comedies (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, and Big Daddy), he is sometimes overshadowed by Nicholson, who is truly one of the finest and most versatile actors of his or any Hollywood generation. Anger Management is also chock-full of stars and celebrity cameos, including Luis Guzmán, Kevin Nealon, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, former Indiana and Texas Tech head basketball coach Bobby Knight, former New York City Mayor and Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens.
Director Peter Segal (50 First Dates) brings an easygoing charm to the film and never tries to outshine his stars with overly complicated direction. He realizes Sandler, Nicholson, and the fine ensemble cast are the real stars of the movie, and his style allows them to play for the camera, and the movie never gets bogged down by anything, allowing the laugh-a-minute pace of the movie to dominate the screen. He's also masked the script's flaws nicely; I had the premise of the film's secret figured out about five minutes in, but the journey to its revelation and the fine details I hadn't figured out proved an enjoyable enough experience. Anger Management isn't the best comedy of all time, but it is serviceable, and it managed to draw plenty of laughs, even out of this hard-to-please comedy viewer.
Anger Management Blu-ray, Video Quality
Anger Management's Blu-ray transfer shouldn't set off any viewers into an uncontrollable rage (unless you disdain "black bars"). Sony presents this comedy in 1080p high definition and framed in its original 2.40:1 transfer. This is a pleasing enough transfer, certainly not top-tier, but sufficient. In fact, I would label Anger Management one of the most typical Blu- ray transfer's I've seen yet with its solid yet ultimately unremarkable image, an image that is still clearly superior to any DVD counterpart out there. There are some speckles on the print, and some very light film grain covers the image. This transfer isn't overly soft, but it isn't extremely sharp, either. The color palette seems a bit dull and washed out in places; at other times, colors appear deeper and more solid. Skin tones go from a bit ghostly to rosy pink as a result. There is some good detail in places, notably the brick inside Dave's apartment and the various items in his kitchen as seen in chapter six. This level of detail is acceptable, but it never really feels like we can reach through the screen and touch it. Blacks levels are also fine. A few effects shots stand out as plainly obvious in high definition, namely anytime Dave stands on his roof with the backdrop of New York City behind him. Sony has another solid Blu-ray transfer here. It's certainly not as good as their effort on a disc like Saawariya, but neither Anger Management nor Blu-ray fans in general should find themselves overly disappointed with the look of this film.
Anger Management Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony delivers Anger Management to Blu-ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix that is mostly a typical comedy soundtrack, but with a few nice audible surprises along the way to keep things interesting. Blondie's Heart of Glass opens the movie. It sounds fantastic. The music effortlessly flows into the rear channels, as does all of the film's music, for a pleasing and energetic listen. Dialogue reproduction, the focal point of a comedy, is perfectly rendered. The majority of the truly shining sonic moments in the movie come from the music, and as a comedy, we really shouldn't expect much more and indeed, we don't, but the track does manage to surprise. There are several instances where dialogue has the chance to completely engulf the viewer, be it in the echoing throughout the court room when the judge yells at Dave, or when the voice of the legendary public address announcer of the New York Yankees, Bob Sheppard, comes over the stadium speakers, reverberates effortlessly and realistically, and places us smack-dab in the middle of Yankee Stadium. I haven't had the opportunity to attend a game at Yankee Stadium (one of my dreams is to tour every Major League ballpark some day) but this is the closest I've come to being there without heading to the Bronx. The rear speakers also become active on occasion to create a realistic city ambience, but they are left silent through much of the movie. Perhaps the only "action" moment of the movie, and therefore of the soundtrack, comes in chapter nine when a car falls off a roof. Bass also makes an appearance in a fight scene in chapter 12. While Anger Management won't knock your socks off, it proves to be a pleasing enough listen, one that definitely adds to several parts of the movie and compliments the rest of it perfectly.
Anger Management Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Anger Management calms the nerves with a few doses of extra features, the first of which is a feature-length commentary track with director Peter Segal and actor Adam Sandler. The duo offers a rather funny track, one that briefly strays from the movie at times, but provides some lighthearted comments amongst the more serious, expected banter about some of the nuts-and-bolts of the scenes. Fans of the movie will enjoy this track quite a bit. Two featurettes are next. The first is Skull Session (480p, 17:55), a dime-a-dozen look at the origins of the movie, the chemistry between Nicholson and Sandler, the influence their presence had on luring the other well-known actors to the project, and the comic genius of the two leads. My Buddy, Jack (480p, 4:06) is a pat-on-the-back piece focusing on the famed actor, looking at Sandler's impersonations of Jack Nicholson, and Nicholson's grasp of the material. Four deleted scenes (480p, 10:20), a gag reel (480p, 5:36), and 1080p trailers for Click, 50 First Dates, Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, and a Blu-ray promotional montage complete this supplemental package.
Anger Management Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Anger Management surprised me. With plenty of laughs, a decent story, and a first-rate cast, it is a solid comedic offering, one of the better in recent memory. Jack Nicholson is without a doubt one of the finest actors alive today, and once again he's managed to amaze with his acting prowess and comedic touch. Sandler plays his usual character, remaining in his safety zone but managing to stand toe-to-toe with Nicholson through most of the movie. Sony has once again released a fine disc. It's not their best effort, but Anger Management does represent a fairly typical-of-its-genre presentation with average video and audio quality. The quantity of supplements is fairly standard of a comedy home video release. If you haven't seen it, Anger Management is worth checking out on Blu-ray.
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Anger Management Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Sony Announces Anger Management for Blu-ray - March 10, 2008
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson film 'Anger Management' to Blu-ray on May 20th. Video will be presented as 2.40:1 1080p AVC accompanies by a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Extras include audio commentary ...
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