Don't Go Away Mad. Just Don't Go.

Ordered by the court to attend an anger-management therapy group after a fracas on an airplane, mild-mannered schlemiel Dave Buznick (Adam Sandler) falls into the clutches of the eccentric Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), who will proceed, during the course of "Anger Management," to take over Dave's life and harass and enrage him with his invasive and utterly cuckoo methods. Why? Good question--and one that must have come up in story meetings between screenwriter David Dorfman and director Peter Segal. I suspect their answer was "Just because." Just because we think it will be funny if Jack gets into bed with Adam. Just because we want a scene where Adam slugs a Buddhist monk. Just because the premise of our comedy makes so little sense--unless the therapist moves in with his patient, our hapless hero will be sent to prison--we may as well do anything we damn well please, as long as it'll make a 15-year-old boy laugh. Here's the level of the wit: Dave, hoping to make his estranged girlfriend (Marisa Tomei) jealous, shows up at a restaurant with two bimbos (who happen to be porn stars and lesbian lovers, but never mind that). Maitre d' to Dave, as he stares at their cleavage: "Can I show you to your boobs?"

Unless you're 15 at heart, you may need anger management yourself after sitting through this aggressively crass comedy, which alternates between mean-spirited slapstick and arbitrary uplift. Sandler gives a far less interesting variation of his repressed-rage performance in "Punch-Drunk Love," while Nicholson, as if to make up for his restraint in "About Schmidt," turns it up full throttle. All right, I'll admit that I laughed once, when Nicholson and Sandler broke into "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story" in a stalled car on a New York bridge. Don't ask why they are singing. Just because.