8 Crazy Nights

Starring:
  • Poop
  • Diabetes
  • Seizures

 

 
Directed by the Desperation of Happy Madison Productions

"Well, I thought since it was your last real hit, Mr. Sandler, that there would be a Big Daddy 2. And my little Timmy will pee wherever you tell him to."

Desperate

Let me give you a list of what the makers of 8 Crazy Nights thinks is funny:

1. An old man having seizures

2. Drunk driving

3. Drunk homeless people

4. Diabetes

5. Prison sex

6. Projectile snot

7. A woman with three breasts nursing her triplets

8. An old man sliding down a hill in a tipped-over port-a-potty and freezing into a "poopsicle"

9. Comas

10. Jon Lovitz

I am not against violating sacred cows. One of my favorite SNL sketches is the Jerry Seinfeld-hosted game show "Comedy Killers," in which Adam Sandler chooses "Cancer" as a category. Obviously, Sandler missed the whole point of the sketch: The sketch is funny not because it jokes about cancer, but because it jokes about joking about cancer. But the people at Happy Madison productions just don't get how something like, say, molestation can be funny. Molestation is not funny in and of itself, but the idea of making jokes about molestation is. The humor is not in the act, but in the absurdity of making comedy out of the act.

In 8 Crazy Nights, a kid who plays basketball at the YMCA is mocked for his poor shooting ability because his uncle molested him. And that's as far as the joke goes. To contrast, in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, the "Uncle Fucker" song is played at the fever pitch of a musical, mocking the very notion that almost anything can be played for laughs if 1) The audience is lowbrow enough, and 2) It pitches a style so that the substance is irrelevant. "Uncle Fucker" is funny to Cartman because of the extended musical fart sequence, even though Terence mocks Phillip for "fuck(ing) your uncle yesterday." We're not laughing at Uncle Fucking, per se, but the fact that Cartman is laughing at a song that says "uncle fucker." The "Uncle Fucker" rap video is hilarious because it correctly denotes that the song can be about anything as long as it exudes a certain image. That's why the movie is so damn funny: South Park viciously derides not only the Sandlerites, but those who censor language itself but refuse to "protect" kids from the meaning of that language. And the MPAA made the point in how it treated the movie: It nearly gave it an NC-17 for language and sexual images, but allowed brutal bloodshed with nary a word.

Sandler didn't used to be like this. I have never thought he was funny, but at least his early films like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore were kindhearted while mixing in the tackling and whatnot. This is angrier, more cynical "humor." Sandler must be more conscious of himself, given that Paul Thomas Anderson and Tom Green have both critiqued him specifically, and I think he's grown angry and confused: He mistakenly believes that he and "Jackass" are playing on the same turf. 8 Crazy Nights is gross without being metacognitive, which is more offensive than Saddam and Satan having anal sex. As Trey Parker said in response to his battle with the MPAA, "Once we can laugh at farts, poop, and boogers without taboo, then they will no longer be funny, and we can move on to higher level subjects." I sincerely hope that Adam Sandler takes that to heart. An old man having a seizure is no longer taboo in his films; it's not funny, so maybe he can parlay his Punch Drunk Love success into something on a bit higher level.

The Pitch:
 
Master of Disguise
Plus
 
Mr. Hankey
Equals
     
8 Crazy Nights
See It For:
Whitey playing down the Oscar talk.