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Mr. Deeds: Special Edition

Avoiding comparison with Frank Capra's 1936 classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, this lightweight Adam Sandler remake is both concerning and refreshing. Concerning because Sandler appears to have willfully shrugged off the brazen and caustic buffoonery of his breakthrough classics Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore in favor of a wholesome, if slightly mischievous, cuteness. Refreshing, however, is that Sandler's final commitment to feel-good comedy has eradicated the tonal schizophrenia of his last three pictures and recaptured the sweet and charming spirit of The Wedding Singer, which, even if it doesn't please Billy Madison's die-hard fans, is still enough to provoke a steady smile. Sandler stars as Deeds, a small-town pizza entrepreneur whisked away to New York City when he inherits a $40 billion media empire from an unknown relative. Boyish Sandler generously allows pleasing bits of comedy to all of his supporting players including Peter Gallagher, Steve Buscemi, Allan Covert and Jared Harris and, as his love interest, Winona Ryder makes an appealing romantic foil. While there are no moments of high hilarity and several excursions into base stupidity, director Steven Brill keeps the proceedings bouncing at a jovial pace for an unobjectionable 97 minutes of entertainment. Columbia TriStar's widescreen edition of Mr. Deeds offers a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. On board is a commentary with screenwriter Tim Herlihy and director Steven Brill, and handful of amusing deleted scenes, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, a selection of animated greeting cards, a Dave Matthews Band music video, and a trailer. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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