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Mr. Deeds

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Mr. Deeds

Starring: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder
Director: Steven Brill
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: June 2002
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

Back in 1936, Frank Capra made the classic comedy "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town" with Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds, a New Englander who inherits 20 million dollars and wants to give it to needy people, while Jean Arthur co-stars as a big-city reporter who tries to figure him out. To compare this loosely based sequel to Depression-era original is more than insulting; it's blasphemy! On the other hand, there are Adam Sandler fans out there who not only have never heard of the original, they've also never heard of Capra or Cooper. So this lame-brained comedy must have been made for them. Yet, there's a second problem: the difference between 'simple' and 'simpleton.' Longfellow Deeds is a simple man, meaning he's without guile or deceit. Sandler plays him as a simpleton, a person of weak intellect, a fool. Sandler's Longfellow Deeds is a pizzeria owner/wannabe greeting card poet in Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire, who inherits $40 billion from a distant relative. When this infantile, goofball Deeds gets to Manhattan, he not only becomes Gotham's most eligible bachelor but he's also the rags-to-riches target of villainous power monger Peter Gallagher and Winona Ryder, a scheming tabloid-TV reporter named Babe whose nasty motives are duly suspected by his sneaky butler, John Turturro. Sure, Deeds gives away his money - but not to the needy - and, predictably, the dude's folksy virtue triumphs over big-city avarice and cynicism. Heavy-handed director Steve Brill and screenwriter Tim Herlihy butcher Robert Riskin's original screenplay, unable to decide whether it's a parody of corporate culture, a slapstick comedy or a sappy romance. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Mr. Deeds" is a dimwitted, dumbed-down 3. I urge you to rent the real "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town."

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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