New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Adam Sandler, Rhys Ifans, Harvey Keitel
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Behind-the-scenes Featurette, Heavy Metal Documentary, Music Video, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, Cast & Crew Biographies
"Little Nicky" tells the story of Nicky (Adam Sandler), the youngest son of the devil. Nicky lives in Hell and enjoys listening to heavy metal music, and despises his evil older brothers, Adrian (Rhys Ifans) and Cassius (Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.). Satan (Harvey Keitel) announces that after 10,000 years of ruling, it may be time for the throne to be passed to one of his sons. But, as none of them seem fit for the job (Adrian and Cassius are too mean, and Nicky is too sweet), Satan ultimately decides that he will keep the throne for himself. Angered by this decision, Adrian and Cassius flee to Earth, where they plan to rule. Their departure from Hell closes the gates of Hell, thus shutting down the influx of new souls. This, in turn, causes Satan to begin to decompose. Satan’s only hope is for the shy and awkward Nicky to go to Earth and bring Adrian and Cassius back to Hell.
While watching "Little Nicky", it’s pretty obvious why this film didn’t win over Sandler’s newfound fans. My feeling when I walked out of "Billy Madison" was that Sandler had made a film for himself and his friends and that if I didn’t get the jokes, that didn’t really matter. It wasn’t until subsequent viewings of "Billy Madison" that I began to fully understand them. "Little Nicky" leaves a similar impression. It’s very apparent that New Line was glad to have Sandler back in their stable after the success of "The Wedding Singer" and they let his team run wild. The result is an incredibly bizarre film that includes giant horny birds and demons with breasts on their heads. I’m sure that most people went into the film expecting it to be stupid and silly, but this film simply goes insane. Most of the humor is on a 5th grade level and there isn’t a hint of subtly in the film. So, I’m sure that those wanting "Bid Daddy 2" told their friends to stay away from "Little Nicky".
New Line Home Video brings us "Little Nicky" as one of their "Platinum Editions" and (yes, I’m going to say it) it’s one hell of a DVD. The movie is presented in a <$PS,letterboxed> format and is framed at 1.85:1. The digital transfer has been <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TVs. We’ve come to expect quality from New Line’s DVDs and "Little Nicky" doesn’t disappoint. The image is crystal clear and virtually flawless. For a quick demonstration of the clarity of this DVD, go directly to 1:01:45, where you get a beautiful pastel color palette (a true rarity) and you can see that there is virtually no grain, nor any defects in the source print. The colors in this scene (and throughout the film) are very rich and realistic, giving the image a great sense of depth. In addition, the fleshtones are true and natural. The framing of the image appears to be correct and there’s no interference from artifacting. Despite what you may think of "Little Nicky", there’s no denying the perfection of this transfer.
Being a "Platinum Edition", "Little Nicky" is big on extra features. There are two audio commentaries included on the DVD. The first features star/co-writer Adam Sandler, director/co-writer Steven Brill, and co-writer Tim Herlihy. This may not be the most informative commentary ever, but it’s certainly entertaining, as these three old friends reminisce about the making of "Little Nicky". With Sandler constantly zinging Herlihy, the trio discuss the origin of the film, the production, and they also mention the studio’s bewilderment over the film. It’s nice to have Sandler finally do a commentary to one of his films, and he comes across like one of his characters. He seems to be a nice guy who just wants to make people laugh. Unfortunately, he spends a lot of this commentary pointing out what’s happening on-screen and referring to himself in the third-person.
The second commentary is a cast commentary hosted by Michael McKean. This commentary features: Blake Clark, Peter Dante, Clint Howard, Rhys Ifans, Tiny Lister, Jonathan Loughran, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Ozzy Osbourne, and Henry Winkler. The good point about this commentary is that with such a diverse mixture of people, you get a lot of different viewpoints about the film. Most of the speakers talk about their work on "Little Nicky" and give their thoughts about Adam Sandler. The bad point is that this isn’t a group discussion, but several different interviews which have been edited together. Michael McKean does his best to keep things fresh and moving forward, but this commentary does stagnate at times. But, this is a great example of how New Line is always ready to try something new.
To prove that some self-control was used in the making of the film, there are at least 21 deleted or extended scenes (or maybe more) included on the DVD. For most of this footage, it’s a blessing that it was excised, but some of it, especially the last one, is worth viewing. A music video from the band P.O.D. is included, for their song, "School of Hard Knocks". This is presented in Dolby 2-channel surround and sounds very good. The theatrical trailer is included and is <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.85:1 and offers Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. And finally, we have the usual cast & crew filmographies.
Perhaps in these enlightened times, America wasn’t ready for a movie that cast Satan’s family in a positive light. (Although the film shies away from any strong theological statements.) Nonetheless, "Little Nicky" is a unique film that some will find amusing, while others will find it bewildering. Despite this split view, all will agree that the DVD looks and sounds great, and offers many nice special features.