little nicky
New Line Cinema

“Welcome to the party! It’s so nice to see you all here! I’m so proud of you. You’ve taken to sin with such minimal promoting. You’re acting as if there’s is no heaven or hell. Well, I’ve got news for you.”

  • When your mother is an angel and your father is the devil, life can be really confusing. For Little Nicky, it just got a whole lot worse. His two evil brothers have just escaped from Hell and are wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting earth. His dad is disintegrating and it’s up to Nicky to save him and all of humanity. Can Nicky find his inner evil in time to save the world?

So. Little Nicky. It was inevitable that I would be having to do the review this movie sooner or later. I’ve put it off long enough; it’s time to live this antacid flashback and put this demon to rest. Put very much intended.

It may be hard to believe for some of you youngun’s, but there used to be a time when the thought of watching an Adam Sandler movie wasn’t accompanied by a shudder of revulsion. They may have been more low-brow as comedies go, but there was a certain charm buried in them, and once in a while Sandler could surprise you with an actual good movie.

Little Nicky, released in late 2000, doesn’t necessarily fall under the later part of that statement–not even close–but it’s not entirely irredeemable.

So, in Little Nicky, it’s been about 10,000 years (give or take a century or two), and the Devil (Harvey Keitel!) is supposed to pass on the torch, so to speak, to one of his three sons: the devious Adrian, the cruel Cassius (“Tiny”!), and his personal favorite, Nicky (Adam Sandler!). This causes some sibling rivalry, to say the very least. The Devil decides that none of his boys are ready to take the throne, so he’s staying on it himself. This doesn’t jive well with Adrian and Cassius, so they decide to create and rule their own Hell on Earth, and as a parting gift, they freeze shut the gates of Hell so that no more souls can come in. This results in the Devil starting to decompose. So he sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that will trap whoever drinks from it inside. After a few test runs, he meets a talking dog, rents an apartment with an actor, and falls in love with a design student (Patricia Arquette!). Nicky is then able to capture Cassius at a Globetrotters game, where he also meets a couple of hessian metalhead Satanists (Happy Gilmore regulars Jonathan Loughran and Peter Dante!) who become his minions. After another setback, involving the chief of police being possessed by Adrian and accusing Nicky of mass murder, Adrian then manages to push his father aside in Hell and take the throne, and begins to party in Central Park. Nicky then discovers that his mother (Reese Witherspoon!) is actually an angel from Heaven, and is told about a secret power he has because of that lineage. He then has a showdown with his brother, which Nicky wins thanks to the help of Ozzy Osbourne. The Devil is restored, and Nicky marries his girlfriend and has a baby. The end.

Little Nicky falls squarely under the “Guilty Pleasure” file; it’s a bad movie, yes, quite dumb and tasteless…but I can’t help but be bloody entertained by it at the same time. It has all the standard Happy Madison regulars, including a couple of characters reprised for cameos, a bunch of celebrity cameos (including the aforementioned Ozzy), and the soundtrack is pretty awesome. I am inspired to have the opening riff to “Rock You Like A Hurricane” start jamming whenever I enter a room anywhere. And blantant product placement with Popeye’s is fine, but we all know KFC is far more metal than any other chicken place around.

Overall, while it’s not a movie that I’ll rent any time soon, if I happen upon Little Nicky playing on a cable channel somewhere, I wouldn’t mind just leaving it on there. Take that as you will.