Eight Crazy Nights
Eight Crazy Nights is a 2002 American adult animated musical Christmas black comedy-drama film directed by Seth Kearsley and produced, co-written by and starring Adam Sandler, in his first voice-acting role.
Released on November 27, 2002, it was Happy Madison Productions' only animated film they had ever made. Eight Crazy Nights was also actually one of Adam Sandler's first box office bombs, as it only grossed $23.8 million out of its $34 million budget (also mentioned in the Box Office section) and is usually seen as one of Adam Sandler's worst films.
Davey Stone, a 33-year old party animal, finds himself in trouble with the law after his wild ways go too far. In keeping with the holiday spirit, the judge gives Davey one last chance at redemption -- spend the holiday performing community service as the assistant referee for the youth basketball league or go to jail. Davey thinks he's gotten off easy until he meets Whitey Duvall, the eccentric, elf-like head referee.
Why Those Nights Had Gone Wrong
- Poor and annoying voice acting, with some exceptions. The voice of Whitey was supposed to be funny, but instead, people found it to be annoying and ear-grating. Worst of all, Adam Sandler himself voiced the man.
- Davey is a very unlikeable protagonist and, to add insult to injury, he has a tragic backstory that not only sounds too dark and emotional to be in a comedy film, but it's also offensive to those who lost their parents (or parent). (His parents were killed in a car accident on Hanukkah night on their way to his basketball game when he was just a young boy and was so distraught upon finding out that he became the notorious criminal that he was and became cruel towards society.) On the subject of the character, Davey is mean-spirited, unfriendly, arrogant, hate-filled, and mentally disturbed. He is also a grouchy jerk who is almost as heinous as Gord from Freddy Got Fingered. While he does become a better person, in the end, he never apologized for all the previously heinous and horrible actions he did to the town (though at least he apologizes for what he did to Whitey), making his character development feel shallow and more unforgivable than ever; though to be fair, a simple apology would be shallow in itself. Speaking of his backstory, The Nostalgia Critic even points out that even after the backstory of his parents dying, they still make him too unlikable for us to sympathize with him.
- While the animation is good (It helps that several of the film's animators also worked on the cult animated classic film The Iron Giant), it just doesn't fit the film's tone at all. To simplify, the animation is unfitting. Plus, it gets vile and ugly on the inside.
- Adding to the point above, having the movie be animated is somewhat pointless. The film would have had the same budget, if not a lower one if it was in live-action.
- Excessive use of juvenile humor (e.g. Davey burping and reindeer pooping while laughing at a nonsensical joke and having poop on their teeth).
- The film is way too short, running at only 76 minutes. The scenes go too quickly and don't spend enough time on character development.
- It has musical numbers that show no charm to Christmas or Hanukkah, or any song that isn't Christmas-themed at all.
- Several of the musical numbers have characters singing very badly and they can be off-key. Whitey is the most glaring example with his "technical foul" song.
- Shameless Product Placement: There are scenes that have excessive use of blatant product placement (e.g. Footlocker, Sharper Image, Radio Shack, Dunkin' Donuts, etc.) done in a way that is wasted to such a dreadful movie, especially when they get to have a bizarre scene where they begin to sing to Davey (which feels just as painfully stupid and bizarre as a musical number from Tentacolino, it even feels like a segment from that movie).
- Poor attempts at humor, including making fun of minorities, like the elderly and fat people in the worst way possible. Even Davey is made to be like this because he is nothing but the most unapologetic, mean-spirited, and hate-filled person throughout the entire film.
- Instances of poorly written dialogue (e.g. "Smell ya later, Poopsicle!" and "I should stick you on a twig and roast you!").
- The idea of a criminal who was secretly once a good kid until his life spiraled out of control due to a personal tragedy is interesting, but sadly, it's badly handled and wasted.
- Rob Schneider plays an offensive Chinese stereotype. It could be forgiven since he is of partial Asian descent.
- Misleading title: Despite being called Eight Crazy Nights, it is barely a Hanukkah movie!
- The Intervention Song leads to a pretty good emotional moment.
- It was Adam Sandler's first attempt at making a traditionally animated film, despite the film being a failure critically and commercially.
- As mentioned earlier, the animation is really good (for the most part).
- The Chanukah Song that was used at the end was good.
- Whitey can be considered likable if you can get past his merely obnoxious voice since he's such a nice and selfless person. Alternatively, they may find his voice to be legitimately funny. His voice was originally even louder and more annoying during the production of this film, but the voice that you hear in the final release was lowered down by the focus groups.
- Even if the animation doesn't perfectly match the film's tone, it's much better if you watch the movie on mute.
- The rest of the voice acting is good except for Adam Sandler as Whitey and Rob Schneider as the Chinese Waiter.
- Rob Schneider did a good job narrating the film.
- Like many of the “Christmas Hater” characters such as The Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge, Davey Stone does reform to be a better person in the end.
- Director Seth Kearsley gave the Nostalgia Critic a thank you Tweet to him for reviewing the film and sent a long e-mail describing all the hard work that he and all the cast and animation crew went through. He also admitted that he hated the poop-eating reindeer scene and wanted to cut it out, but was forced to leave it in the film due to the positive reaction from the test audiences.
- Whitey Duvall originated from a 1999 audio sketch by Adam Sandler with Sandler providing his voice. He made his live-action debut in Little Nicky, played by Dana Carvey before Sandler returned to voice Whitey in this movie.
Eight Crazy Nights received largely negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 12% of 109 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average score is 3.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Sandler returns to his roots in this nauseating concoction filled with potty humor and product placements.".