About The Production
"What made the
idea of Anger Management so funny to me," says screenwriter David
Dorfman, "was to start with the last guy in the world you'd ever think
would need anger management and then pair him with a therapist who makes him
The true test of such a
concept, he concedes, is whether the story can maintain the cleverness of its
initial premise. The script for Anger Management passed that test,
according to the film's star and executive producer Adam Sandler. When
Revolution Studios founder Joe Roth asked him to read the script, Sandler says
he picked it up and "I immediately liked the title and knew I needed some
in real life, so I figured I should at least take a look. Then I read it and I
was laughing. And I just kept going and it didn't let me down."
The reason Dorfman's
screenplay worked so well, explains Revolution Studios partner Todd Garner, also
an executive producer on the film, is that it used humor to get under the skin
of a real issue and not merely for the sake of generating some good gags.
"At its core, it's about a man who's having a tough time expressing
himself and another man who comes into his life and helps him deal with
that," says Garner.
In his writing, Dorfman
says he took care to make the therapy as unusual as the disease. "Doctor
Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson) makes Dave (Sandler) do all the things he hates.
He puts him through every possible comedic nightmare, which finally forces Dave
to take action in order to survive. In the end Dave is cured, but in an
Among the indignities
Dave must suffer to rid himself of his pent-up anger are group sessions with a
decidedly eccentric bunch of men and women who also suffer from anger control
issues, confronting a childhood tormentor, being propositioned by a
transvestite, singing "I Feel Pretty" on the Queensboro bridge during
rush hour and shacking up with Doctor Buddy, who proves to be a disruptive and
keeps pushing Dave's buttons to see how long he can go without snapping,"
says Sandler. "Basically he's trying to get him to come out of his
"Buddy puts Dave
through a series of tests," says Anger Management director Peter
Segal, "through which he confronts his demons and graduates to the next
level. The reason Buddy exposes him to all these things is to get him to
overcome them and emerge a better person."
Somehow this oddball
treatment works and Dave's life actually improves, though he's never sure
exactly how he got there, observes Garner. "The humor flows from an
unorthodox vein," says Garner, "but by the end, Dave really has broken
through, which makes the story all the more satisfying."
That undertow of
reality, however skewed, brought energy to the film's comedic possibilities,
according to Segal. "The script really sucks you in because, when you start
out, you don't think there's anything wrong with Dave Buznik (Sandler),"
says Segal. "He seems innocent and trapped. He doesn't seem to deserve
But when anger
management specialist Doctor Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson) enters Dave's life,
the story evolves in completely unexpected ways. "Buddy provokes Dave to
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