After billionaire Preston Blake (Harve Presnell) freezes to death (with a big ol’ smile on his face) at the top of Mount Everest, the race is on to find the heir to the media mogul’s fortune — which ends up being his nephew, Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler), a New Hampshire pizzeria owner and would-be greeting card writer who gets whisked away to the Big Apple and the (rather corrupt) world of Big Business. He ends up falling for Pam Dawson (Winona Ryder), a nice girl from Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa who’s actually ace tabloid reporter Babe Bennett working undercover to get the dirt on this bumpkin whilst shady attorney Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher) schemes to sell off the company and put thousands of employees out of a job. Director Steven Brill is nowhere near the Yes Man that is Sandler’s usual collaborator, Dennis Dugan, making this contemporary update of Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington a much more disciplined kind of comedy for its star; Sandler also delivers a much more mannered (and likable) performance than usual, keeping his trademark temper tantrums and violent outbursts to a minimum (only a for-hire purse snatcher feels the fury of his fists here) and dumping his usual goofy character voice (for the most part). A pleasant diversion completely stolen by John Turturro as Emilio, the butler who’s probably more than meets the eye in some capacity; meanwhile, Sandler would really hit it out of the park later that same year with his truly excellent turn in Punch Drunk Love.
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