Anger Management

Anger Management (2003)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, John Turturro, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman
Extras: Commentary Track, Promo Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel

I remembered seeing "Anger Management" when it first arrived on DVD a few years ago, but I did not recall many details about the film per se so I decided to give the film another check-up when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment sent over the Blu-Ray version of this comedy.

Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler), a seemingly shy young man, is thrown into the most bizarre pool of events. The world seems to go spin out of control around him and for inexplicable reasons he is ordered by the court to undergo anger management. But you better see that for yourself…

While the film may not be roll-on-the-floor funny, it has an incredible presence and charm as a result of the stellar cast. Jack Nicholson is making every second of his onscreen time a memorable one. With his trademark laid-back cool, his wicked eyebrow expressions and the piercing eyes – not to forget the diabolical grin – he tears up the screen like only he can.

Adam Sandler also puts in a good performance as the quiet, inhibited Buznik who can't understand the world anymore. Everyone seems to turn on him. Even though he's the most non-confrontational person imaginable, all of a sudden everyone is getting on his case. Confused and befuddled, Sandler plays the part to the hilt with his innocent little-boy look.

And then there is John Turturro. The thing with Turturro is that whenever he enters the screen – in any of his films, really – you begin having this uneasy feeling that something is inherently wrong with the guy. Intense, agitated, completely off the wall and boiling with aggression under the surface, Turturro puts the spice in the mix. He becomes the unknown, the X-factor that is impossible to calculate.

Overall, "Anger Management" is a highly entertaining and funny comedy filled with quirks and character comedy.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents the movie in a 1080p high definition transfer on this release in its original 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The transfer is AVC-encoded and offers a clean image, without a hint of dirt or speckles. The transfer is highly detailed, revealing a lot of subtle textures and nuances that were lost entirely in the DVD version. Like most comedies, the film has a very natural look with a color palette that is never exaggerated are tinted for effect. Black levels are rock solid giving the image wonderful depth and dimensionality that helps to create this incredibly sharp and natural-looking presentation.

Featuring a Dolby Digital 5.1 TrueHD language track, the audio on the release is also impressive with a lossless surround track that makes good use of the discrete channels. While a comedy like "Anger Management" may not be a reference showcase for surround usage, the audio track reveals a noticeable clarity that adds to the natural, real-life look of the entire production. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable without being drowned out by sound effects or the music.

The release includes all the extras found on the previous DVD release of the film, thus making it a real replacement for the disc. Sadly however, all of these bonus materials are included in standard definition only.

A commentary track featuring Adam Sandler and director Peter Segal is included on the disc, offering some additional insight into the production. Sadly the track is not overly informational as the commentators repeatedly state the obvious and simply reiterate the action on the screen. A commentary track that offered the workings of the behind-the-scenes machinery would have been more valuable no doubt and shed more light on the production of this film. With people like Nicholson, Turturro and Guzman involved there have to be anecdotes to be told!

'Skull Session,' a behind-the-scenes featurette, is also included but it's a typical off-the-mill promo featurette by nature and as such also offers only marginal value or insight. A series of deleted scenes and a gag reel are also included.

I found 'Anger Management' to be truly funny and highly entertaining. There are so many devious moments in the film and so many hilarious characters that sometimes you won't believe what's happening. The Blu-Ray disc replaces the DVD version and with its significantly improved video and audio presentation it is a worthy replacement indeed.