It’s been an interesting year for Adam Sandler. First, the former SNL funny man received critical acclaim for his serio-comedic performance in Punch-Drunk Love, a film largely ignored by his core fanbase. Now, in the animated/semi-musical feature Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, Sandler has been immortalized as a cartoon character. The movie’s premise is simple enough: Davey Stone, a smart-alecky party animal, gets into trouble with the law. In keeping with the holiday spirit, the judge sentences him to community service as an assistant referee for a children’s basketball league. In the end, Stone learns some valuable lessons about loyalty, friendship, sacrifice and the true meaning of the holiday season. Simple though the plot may be, Eight Crazy Nights makes for one jagged little pill. The film’s lack of taste runs the entire gamut from crass bathroom humor to mean-spirited jokes at the expense of the young, the old and the obese. Rob Schneider makes his umpteenth appearance in a Sandler vehicle as yet another irritatingly bad ethnic stereotype—this time as a Chinese waiter. Sandler has made a career of playing tactless, ne’er-do-well morons, but never an animated one. Is his character likeable? Not really. Is the movie funny? Only slightly. Is it watchable? Just barely. The film’s one saving grace is a new version of Sandler’s comical “Chanukah Song”. My advice? Wait for Eight Crazy Nights to be released as a rental and watch it without shame in the privacy of your own home. That way, when you start throwing things at the screen—or just start throwing up—you won’t run the risk of being thrown out, like this sad attempt at holiday levity should have been way before its Thanksgiving release.
The Christmas lights sure look pretty, and Sandler's classic whine comes through more than crystal clear. But is that a good thing or a bad thing? You decide.
Disc one offers you the choice between 1.33:1 full screen and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen versions of the film (it's a crapshoot either way). If you aren't caught between a rock and hard place yet, the two commentary tracks are sure to baffle the hell out of you. First the second: an overcrowded "technical" track with director Seth Kearsley, art director Philip A. Cruden, head of animation Stephan Franck, the film's special effects supervisor, and executive producer Ken Tsumura. Now the first: a track featuring screenwriter Allen Covert and Adam Sandler as the "Whitey" and "Eleanore" characters from the film. The track is more strange than funny. Any way you cut it: it's far better than the actual film. Rounding out the first disc is the terrible short film "A Day With The Meatball" (about a bulldog who lives Sandler's day for him), Sandler's SNL performance of "Chanukah Song Part 3," an "NBA: Love It Live" TV spot, and trailers for Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, Big Daddy, The Medallion, Mr. Deeds and "Original Programming TV" (essentially clips from shows like "The Critic," "The Tick" and "Dilbert").
On to the second disc. "Nine Original Featurettes"? Not exactly. Sandler and various members from the film's technical department were each recorded for several minutes. Too lazy to actually piece together an airtight, making-of documentary, the makers of this DVD create mini-docs using their raw footage. There is logic to this, though: the second disc's interactive menu is designed as a tour of the film's cartoon neighborhood and each location on the screen fits the "theme" of the mini-doc it houses. Strange that the layout is way cuter than the actual film and probably not worth the hassle. Go to the "Community Center" and you'll find "Whitey" and "Creating Dukesberry" featurettes and two deleted scenes. At "Whitey and Eleanore's House" you get to watch "Eleanore" and "Animation Progression" featurettes and three deleted scenes. Take a trip to "Banquet Hall" and chow down on two deleted scenes, an HBO First Look documentary (redundant if you're watching all the other stuff), and mini-docs about the "Townspeople of Dukesberry" and "Dukesberry Sings." Then head over to "Davey's Trailer" for a look at "Davey" and "The Deer" and two deleted scenes. Lastly, don't forget "The Mall," where you'll find "Jennifer and Benjamin" and the "Voices of Dukesberry" along with four deleted scenes (the "Exploding Monkey" is nowhere near as funny as it sounds. All deleted scenes come with optional commentary.
It'll take you at least double this crummy film's running time to get through the DVD's genuinely cute Dukesberry interactive wonderland.