One Good Turn Deserves Another

The road to hell is littered with good intentions...

The only thing more jaded than a plot rerun of a young hick from landsendsville inheriting a couple of billion dollars, is that it’s been done in the fashion of a primary school production! And it isn’t even adorable this time round...

Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler), who writes greeting cards in his spare time (of which he has plenty) is a country bumpkin. One day, he's informed that he has come into a very large fortune from a great-grand-uncle out of the blue (read New York). He is soon visited at his country place by members of his uncle Preston Blake’s large conglomerate, who pack him away to the big city to see the green and sniff the mint.

Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher) is the wily senior manager who’s out to dupe the unbelievably generous Deeds into selling him the vast empire. Deeds, on the other hand, is always on the lookout for a damsel in distress. She materializes in the phony Pam Dawson (Winona Ryder), a bottle-blonde TV channel producer, on the lookout for her big break. Babe Bennet, for this is her birth name, fakes an interest in Deeds to capitalize on a prime story, but ends up falling in love with him. And the universe and its moons know where this one leads.

"Mr. Deeds" is a rehashed copy of the Academy Award-winning 1936 classic "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town", directed by Frank Capra and starring the delectable Gary Cooper. And when the makers of this sorry affair claim that they only took the founding premise from the original and reinvented it to their tune, one can’t be surprised; the film is an unsuccessful attempt at clever comedy, with a script as funny as a funeral and acting that gets worse with each change of set.

Adam Sandler is himself, and I’m sure he has a big fan following somewhere in space that applauds his retarded performances and finds his slow-moving robotic gestures a recipe for recreation. Winona Ryder is wasted in a role that requires her to act silly and bumbling. The entire production seems like a hastily pieced-together film that didn’t rehearse and didn’t bother getting a consensus on whether they thought any of the gags they hoped to pull were worth their promised wit.

This article was first published on 12 Sep 2002.