review for Anger Management on AllMovie

Anger Management (2003)
by Perry Seibert review

As with his other films, Adam Sandler has populated Anger Management with talented character actors who have great fun with their roles. John Turturro, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, and Luis Guzman all generate laughs with throwaway lines. Their presence is welcome because at the center of the film Jack Nicholson and Sandler's chemistry fails to generate any comedic sparks. They are not phoning in their performances, but they are not quite on the same page. The big comic set pieces between the two do not have the energy that the scenes with the supporting characters have. Anger Management certainly works as an Adam Sandler vehicle. Once again he has cast himself as an essentially nice and sweet guy troubled by a large reservoir of repressed anger. He squirms in the beginning of the film when confronting people who take advantage of him, and eventually learns to let fly with some patented Sandler temper in order to show that he has a backbone. Punch-Drunk Love showed that Sandler was interested in evolving his comedic persona. This feels like an attempt to take some of what he learned from that film and make it more palatable for his core audience. Sandler fans will not be disappointed, but Anger Management hints at a better film that could have been.