Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he's finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.
When Longfellow Deeds, a small-town pizzeria owner and poet, inherits $40 billion from his deceased uncle, he quickly begins rolling in a different kind of dough. Moving to the big city, Deeds finds himself besieged by opportunists all gunning for their piece of the pie. Babe, a television tabloid reporter, poses as an innocent small-town girl to do an exposé on Deeds. Of course, Deeds' sincere naiveté has Babe falling in love with him instead. Ultimately, Deeds comes to find that money truly has the power to change things, but it doesn't necessarily need to change him. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
This Adam Sandler vehicle is a re-make of a classic Frank Capra movie which originally starred Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. Capra won his second Academy Award for Best Director for the 1936 classic. Gary Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his sincere portrayal of a simple man thrust into extraordinary circumstances. As in many of Capra's films, Cooper's character, guided by a genuine moral center and sense of compassion for those struggling through difficult economic times (the Great Depression), fights against the shallow, the insincere, and the corrupt.
This 2002 version of Mr. Deeds, directed by Steven Brill, possesses none of the charm or drama of the original. The task of updating Robert Riskin's and Clarence Kelland's Oscar-nominated script went to Timothy P. Herlihy, who received his professional break as a staff writer on "Saturday Night Live." The Oscar-winning Riskin also authored such acclaimed screenplays as "Lost Horizon," "It Happened One Night," "You Can't Take It With You," and "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers." In contrast, Herlihy has no non-Adam Sandler big-screen credits, having penned or co-authored the screenplays for "Billy Madison," "Happy Gilmour," "The Wedding Singer," "The Waterboy," "Little Nicky," and "Big Daddy." Herlihy's unfunny adaptation of the original script is therefore not surprising. Unfortunately, the direction, the script and Sandler's performance all make Longfellow Deeds' character look shallow and the character's transformation into compassionate philanthropist seems contrived. The result of this collaboration is a film which is fundamentally insincere and lacking any charm.
Do yourself a favor, and rent the DVD of the original 1936 film, and you'll see why Frank Capra and Gary Cooper were, respectively, among the greatest American directors and actors of the 20th Century.
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