Miles Aronowitz
Owen Gleiberman
November 14, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Little Nicky

Current Status
In Season
84 minutes
Wide Release Date
Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette, Dana Carvey, Rodney Dangerfield, Rhys Ifans, Harvey Keitel, Tiny Lister, Robert Smigel, Quentin Tarantino, Reese Witherspoon
Steven Brill
Adam Sandler
Avery Pix, New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
Steven Brill, Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler

We gave it a B-

Sandler’s always made enlightened choices when casting costars and cameos in his movies (Jon Stewart, Kathy Bates, Billy Idol, Bob ”The Price Is Wrong, Bitch” Barker). With his latest comedy, he went nuts: Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, Michael McKean, and Quentin Tarantino all pop up in small roles.

The story finds Sandler, as the titular good son of Satan (Keitel), being guided to earth by a rough talking pup (voiced by Robert Smigel — the man behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog). Once there, Nicky must battle his rotten, world rocking brothers, played by former wrestler Tiny Lister Jr. and ”Notting Hill”’s ”narsty” roomie Rhys Ifans. ”There’s no other time in history that the three of us will ever be cast as brothers,” Ifans predicts. ”Adam’s this little New York Jew, I’m this clumsy Welshman, and Tiny’s a black guy. So, it’s a strange and funny sight.”

As was watching Keitel take on his highest profile comedic role, which the guys wrote with the actor in mind. ”These are all people we just always wanted to work with, and it fell into place because the roles, even if they weren’t big, were juicy,” says cowriter Steven Brill. ”Some days I’d look at the call sheet and go, ‘Oh, yeah.’ ”

The other casting coup was landing Rodney Dangerfield. While Keitel took movement lessons to perfect his skulk, Dangerfield, who plays Grandpa Satan, worked the room as if it were a comedy club. ”When they mentioned to me the movie was called ‘Little Nicky,’ I thought they were talking about my anatomy,” ba dumps the 78 year old stand-up. But seriously, Rodney… ”This movie, it’s different, funny, unusual. Adam’s a doll… nicest guy in the world.” Wouldn’t that be ”the netherworld”? GOOD SIGN The gang behind ”Billy Madison,” ”Happy Gilmore,” and ”Big Daddy” are together again! THEN AGAIN To some, that’s not necessarily a plus.

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