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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Brill|
|Produced by||Sid Ganis |
|Screenplay by||Tim Herlihy|
|Music by||Teddy Castellucci|
|Cinematography||Peter Lyons Collister|
|Edited by||Jeff Gourson|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$171.3 million|
Mr. Deeds is a 2002 American comedy film directed by Steven Brill, written by Tim Herlihy, and starring Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, Allen Covert, Erick Avari, John Turturro, and Conchata Ferrell. It is a remake of the 1936 Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, which in turn is based on the short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland.
Multi-billionaire Preston Blake (Harve Presnell) dies while climbing Mount Everest. With no immediate heir, it is unclear who will inherit Blake's massive fortune.
It is found that Blake has a living grandnephew named Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler), who runs a pizzeria in Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire and also writes greeting cards hoping to sell them to Hallmark. Deeds is flown to New York City by businessman Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher), who temporarily controls Blake Media. Once Deeds arrives, plans are made for him to sell his shares in the company to Cedar and return home $40 billion richer. He remains in New York while the legal details are worked out.
The story is major news, and reporter Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), who works for a tabloid TV show called Inside Access, has a co-worker pretend to steal her purse in sight of Deeds. Research indicates that Deeds wants to meet a girl by "rescuing" her, the same way his father had met his mother. Deeds "rescues" Babe and goes out with him pretending to be "Pam Dawson," a school nurse from a fictional town called Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (which later turns out to be a real place, surprising Babe).
Though Babe initially wanted a good story on the new heir, she eventually falls for the unfailingly kind-hearted Deeds. She decides to tell him who she really is, but Inside Access, in concert with Cedar (who learned the truth from the fake purse snatcher and is smitten with Babe) reveals the truth to Deeds first. Heartbroken, Deeds decides to return home to Mandrake Falls and plans to donate his $40 billion inheritance to the United Negro College Fund.
After returning to Mandrake Falls, Deeds learns from his friend, Crazy Eyes, (Steve Buscemi) that Cedar intends to sell the company, causing employees to lose their jobs. Cedar had convinced Longfellow to sell his shares by lying that he would command the company in honor of Preston's lifetime of work. Babe follows Deeds to Mandrake Falls to win him back, but after saving her life when she falls through the ice over a lake, he rejects her, saying he does not really know who she is.
At a shareholders meeting, Cedar has persuaded everyone to sell the company, until Deeds (who has bought a single share) arrives and convinces everyone not to sell. But Cedar controls a majority of the shares and the sale is approved. Babe arrives and reveals that, having studied Blake's personal journal after she stole it from Deeds earlier, she has determined that Emilio Lopez, Preston Blake's longtime butler, is Blake's illegitimate son and the true heir as a result of Preston's affair with his maid.
Emilio immediately takes control of Blake Media, starting by firing Cedar. Babe reconciles with Deeds after professing she loves him. Emilio thanks Deeds for his support and offers him a billion dollars, some of which Deeds spends on red Corvettes for everyone in Mandrake Falls. When he returns to the pizzeria with Babe, he learns that Hallmark is interested in buying one of his greeting cards: the one he wrote for Babe when he professed his love for her. They share a kiss as the movie ends with Crazy Eyes crashing his Corvette and coming out unharmed.
- Adam Sandler as Longfellow Deeds, Preston Blake's nephew, a friendly, helpful owner of a small-town pizzeria who also writes greeting cards who inherited a billion-dollar empire from his late Uncle.
- Winona Ryder as Babe Bennett, a reporter for the tabloid TV show Inside Access, who disguises herself as Pam Dawson, a school nurse, to get close to and gather information on Deeds
- John Turturro as Emilio Lopez, Preston Blake's long-serving butler and illegitimate son (therefore Deeds' cousin and the true heir to Blake Media). He has a habit of sneaking up on people unexpectedly, and he also has a foot fetish.
- Allen Covert as Marty, a junior reporter for Inside Access, infatuated with and a cohort of Babe, appearing in several disguises to spy on Deeds
- Peter Gallagher as Chuck Cedar, the CEO for Blake Media, and Preston Blake's longtime number two. He plots to seize control of Blake Media so he can make a huge profit selling it.
- Jared Harris as Mac McGrath, the head of Inside Access who reports on Deeds' antics in New York.
- Erick Avari as Cecil Anderson, the General Counsel for Blake Media
- Rob Schneider (uncredited, in two brief scenes) as Nazo, a food delivery man who was previously seen in Big Daddy
- Peter Dante as Murph, one of Deeds' friends who works at his pizzeria
- Conchata Ferrell as Jan, a close friend of Deeds who works in the pizzeria and is a retired rodeo clown
- Harve Presnell as Preston Blake, the billionaire founder and Chairman of Blake Media who dies at the beginning of the film
- Steve Buscemi as Crazy Eyes, a citizen of Mandrake Falls and one of Deeds' customers; he suffers from severe amblyopia
- Brandon Molale as Kevin Ward, the New York Jets quarterback
- Blake Clark as Buddy Ward, Kevin Ward's father
- John McEnroe as himself
- Radio Man as himself; a homeless man who lives in Central Park
- Jennifer Tisdale as a Card Reader
- Al Sharpton as himself
- J.B. Smoove as Reuben
- Walter Williamson as Kurt
- Roark Critchlow as William
- Billy St. John as George
- George Wallace as UNCF administrator
- Aloma Wright as Coretta Keeling
- Nancy Arsenault as French investor
- Barbara Arsenault as French investor
The producers were looking for a small, "old-fashioned, New England-type" town close to New York, when they serendipitously discovered New Milford, Connecticut, and, upon having lunch there at "The Bistro Cafe", decided the town would be the perfect choice to portray the fictional home-town of Deeds, Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire, and the cafe was a great location to use as "'Deeds' Pizza" restaurant. Some scenes were also shot in Carmel, New York. Several sequences were filmed in New York City around Spring 2001. Following the September 11th, 2001 attacks, images of the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from several shots of New York City. The Blake Media Hotel scenes were shot in Beverly Hills, California. In the scene where Longfellow Deeds and Chuck Cedar playing tennis at the tennis court was filmed at Roosevelt Island, New York.
The film received mainly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 22% based on reviews from 156 critics, with an average rating score of 4.05/10. Its consensus states: "This update of Capra doesn't hold a candle to the original, and even on its own merits, Mr. Deeds is still indifferently acted and stale".
Mr. Deeds received three Razzie Award nominations including Worst Actor (Adam Sandler), Worst Actress (Winona Ryder) and Worst Remake or Sequel. However, the film also won a Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor (Sandler).
Though critically panned, the film was a major financial success. Box office:
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