For years, Christmas themed holiday movies have far out-numbered Chanukah themed ones. Although Adam Sandler’s new animated comedy Eight Crazy Nights is set during the Jewish Festival of Lights, it’s certainly not going to help balance the diversity scales.
Adam Sandler voices Davey Stone, the most miserable man in Dukesberry whose surliness only increases at Chanukah. After a drunken misadventure that ends with the destruction of the town’s two holiday themed ice sculptures, Davey is sentenced to community service at the local community center as the basketball referee-in-training to Whitey, the good-natured, four foot tall septuagenarian who is being forced to retire at the end of the season.
What follows is a fairly predictable 86 minutes, even by holiday film standards. Davey manages to alienate everyone around him, then discovers what is the root of his misery and become a completely changed person in time to win back the heart of his long lost first love.
The animation is remarkably good, bringing life to even some of the more unrealistic characters like Whitey and his fraternal twin sister Eleanore. Director Seth Kearsley does stage a few marginally entertaining sequences, the best being the musical number “Technical Foul.”
That’s right, like almost every other animated film of recent memory, Eight Crazy Nights has its fair share of musical numbers. They don’t add much to the story and merely pad out the film’s already short running time.
It’s hard to believe that this film was written with a holiday season audience in mind. Davey is yet another variation of the typical Adam Sandler character. While the screenwriters (Sandler with Brooks Arthur and Allen Covert) have actually added a little characterization to explain why Davey is such a miserable cuss, it seems fairly perfunctory, serving merely as a setup for the clichéd ending. The humor involved is Sandler’s typical crude variety and one has to wonder who thought it was a good idea to release such a mean-spirited film at the holidays.