"Anger Management" Blu-ray Review
May 29, 2008 by Zach Demeter
Now five years old, Anger Management may show a bit of outdated technology in its midst, but everything else on-screen is as sharp and witty as it was during its original 2003 release. Some may argue that Anger Management has few hilarious bursts of laughter, but those small moments are worth watching the film for, as they are some of the funniest moments in comedy. Ok, that may be stretching it a bit, but with a combination like Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, Anger Management is hard to beat purely from a statistical standpointónot to mention the plethora of supporting cast who have moved on to show their chops off in other ventures since this film came out.
When a misunderstanding aboard a flight goes horrible awry, Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is thrust into an anger management session with Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson). While truly not belonging there in the first place, through a series of incidents, Dave finds himself slowly losing his temper more and more until heís court ordered to begin an intensive training class with Buddy which includes Buddy accompanying and intruding on the everyday events of his life, from sharing a bed and apartment to going to work.
Admittedly there are few things unique about Anger Management that you couldnít find in a typical Sandler film. Itís laden with plenty of toilet and sex humor and the vast array of eclectic characters are what youíve come to expect but then again thatís why we continue to watch the Sandler films. We may know what to expect but we donít know how itís going to be delivered and no matter which way it comes, we laugh anyway because poop and fart jokes are as funny now as they were when you were five (well, for me anyway).
As a romantic comedy the film follows the usual steps and even gets a tad corny towards the end, but itís all done in a make-you-feel-good way. One perk that this film has over similar comedies is, quite simply, the cast. Sandler and Tomei are great as the budding couple in love, but Nicholson is the true star of this film as he absolutely steals every scene he is in. From the initial sequence with him laughing at a movie on the plane to the Buddhist sequence, Nicholson was simply a joy to watch in this film. His reaction to all of Daveís colleagues and acquaintances were also humorous and you just know that Frank Head, the name of Daveís boss, was written just so Nicholson could pull off the ďDick HeadĒ joke. Childish? Sure. I laughed anyway.
The only thing about Anger Management that really brushed me the wrong way was the ďtwistĒ ending. I normally donít watch Sandler comedies for the plot, but the way the film was resolved just seemed like some kind of ridiculous to believe that Daveís girlfriend set the whole thing up from the start with the help of Rydell. If I was Dave Iíd be punching her and Buddy out, but I guess he was just too happy in the end to see how ludicrous everything done to him was.
The film has its weak moments, but overall itís a solid Sandler flick. By now you know what to expect from this film, itís already five years old after all, but if youíve never seen it then youíre in for a treat simply due to the performance given by Nicholson. Sandler plays second fiddle but the majority of the comedy is well timed and expertly done to the point where if youíre into this type of humor, youíll be in fits of laughter on more than one occasion and smirking or chortling (with possible snorts) accompanying the rest of the movie.
There isnít too much more to say about Anger Management. Itís a typical Sandler flick with a superb starring and supporting cast consisting of Luis GuzmŠn, John Turturro, Woody Harrelson, Heather Graham and John C. Reilly was simply a knockout. I had forgotten Reilly was even in this film and after seeing him in recent Apatow comedies, I found his portrayal of an ex-bully Buddhist even more entertaining than the first time.
Overall Anger Management isnít going to do anything new, but itís entertaining anyway. If a comedy makes me laugh, no matter how old the jokes may be, I canít fault it. My sense of humor seems to have stopped progressing at age twelve so that may explain why I enjoy stupid comedies riddled with toilet humor, but if youíre in the same field as me then check this one out. Recommended.
Anger Management slides onto Blu-ray in a standard Blu-ray casing (with fancy intended/chrome Blu-ray logo!) and an insert inside advertising the Blu-ray format. The rear cover text is a bit fuzzy, but it may just be the particular insert print that I have as there are certain parts of the insert that just look blurry to me. Not a huge deal, but itís noticeable.
Menus for the title are nicely done and have smooth pop up and slide over animations to show off that this isnít your standard DVD menu. Unfortunately thatís where the Blu-ray menu system flair stops; once you start getting deep into the extras finding your way back to the main menu takes quite a few arrow navigations, but itís no big deal. What is a big deal is when you go into the extras (all of which are in SD) and the ďpop-upĒ menu that takes you back to the menu doesnít work. Hitting ďPop-UpĒ on my Blu-ray remote caused an option to slide up on-screen, but every time I hit ďOKĒ or ďEnterĒ, the menu merely disappeared and the video continued to play. I actually had to skip past the extra to get back to the menu. Kind of an annoying glitch; Iíd blame it on the PS3 or PS3 Blu-ray remote if they werenít working perfectly fine on every other Blu-ray Iíve watched.
Moving onto the actual presentation of the film itself we get a transfer that is quite an admirable effort. While not representative of what the format can do, I was impressed at times by the exterior city shots and the general clarity of it all. Granted its 1080p so of course itís clear, but there were times when Sandlerís face was the focus of the screen and the clarity of his eyes surprised me. An odd thing to say, but the clarity of it all made it so that if I looked close enough I could probably see the camera and surrounding crew reflected in his eyes. Five years old and obviously not primed for the Blu-ray format, Anger Management still manages to look and sound pretty. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track was crystal clear and had limited use of surrounds, but it did pound out a few punches with the subwoofer when it was called for. Iím not used to comedies sliding out even the four or five instances of subwoofer use that this film boasted, so it was a surprise to not only hear every angry outburst but to also feel it. Also I swear Nicholsonís voice is so deep in this film at times that heís using some LFE output himself.
The extras on this release are all ported from the DVD edition and as previously mentioned are all in standard definition. A commentary with Adam Sandler and director Peter Segal features a lot of re-telling of the on-screen antics as well as attempts to out-joke one another. Itís a funny track to listen to, but if you wanted any insight into the production process youíll be sorely disappointed. For the behind-the-scenes elements weíll have to slide on over to the featurettes, the first of which is ďSkull SessionĒ (17:55), which house the majority of the flubs we see in the accompanying five minute blooper reel and is essentially the making-of documentary for this film. ďMy Buddy JackĒ (4:06) has cast and crew talking about the awesomeness of Nicholson, while four deleted scenes (10:20) round out the extras.
That wraps up the set and whether you purchase this is really dependant on two things: how much you like this movie and whether you already own it. I personally loved the film so Iím more than happy to add it to the shelf, but I also didnít own the previous DVD release. Aside from the admittedly nice video/audio transfer (which is what youíd be upgrading to, obviously), there is nothing else on this Blu-ray release to offer. If you havenít already picked this title up, then it comes Recommended, but otherwise you may just want to give it a Rental if you want to see some really nice high-definition shots of Adam Sandlerís eyeballs.
Anger Management is now available on Blu-ray.