Mr. Deeds is a 2002 American comedy film directed by Steven Brill, written by Tim Herlihy, and produced by Sid Ganis and Jack Giarraputo. It stars Adam Sandler in the title role, alongside Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, Allen Covert, Erick Avari, and John Turturro. The film is a remake of the 1936 Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, which itself was based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland. It tells the story of a pizzeria owner who learns that he is the heir of a late multi-billionaire as he also meets a television reporter wanting a story on him.

Mr. Deeds
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Brill
Screenplay byTim Herlihy
Based on
Produced bySid Ganis
Jack Giarraputo
CinematographyPeter Lyons Collister
Edited byJeff Gourson
Music byTeddy Castellucci
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • June 28, 2002 (2002-06-28)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million
Box office$171.3 million[1]

Produced by Sandler's production company Happy Madison Productions in association with New Line Cinema and Out of the Blue... Entertainment, Mr. Deeds was released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on June 28, 2002. The film received negative reviews.

Plot edit

Multi-billionaire Preston Blake freezes to death upon reaching the top of Mount Everest. With no immediate heir, it is unclear who will inherit Blake's massive fortune. His board of directors discover that he has a living great-nephew named Longfellow Deeds, who runs a pizzeria in Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire, and also writes greeting cards hoping that they might be accepted by Hallmark.

Deeds is flown to New York City by businessman Chuck Cedar, who temporarily controls Blake Media, and general counsel Cecil Anderson. Once he arrives, plans are made for him to sell his shares in the company to Cedar and return home with $40 billion. Deeds remains in New York while the legal details are worked out.

The story is major news and reporter Babe Bennett, who works for a tabloid television show called Inside Access, wants in on the inside story. She has lecherous co-worker Marty pretend to steal her purse in sight of Deeds who "rescues" Babe. She then goes out with him pretending to be "Pam Dawson", a school nurse from the fictional town of Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (a name she made up on the spot).

Deeds later accompanies Pam to the 'actual' town as a surprise, much to her shock. Though Babe initially just wanted a career-advancing story, she eventually falls for the unfailingly soft-hearted Deeds. During a dinner date at Madison Square Garden, Inside Access, in concert with Cedar following a revealing tip from Marty, reveals Pam's true identity to Deeds.

Heartbroken, Deeds decides to return home to Mandrake Falls. He's assured that the company will stay open in Blake's honor, and he donates his $40 billion to the United Negro College Fund.

After returning to Mandrake Falls, Deeds learns from his friend Crazy Eyes that Cedar intends to sell the company, causing thousands of employees to lose their jobs. Babe follows Deeds to Mandrake Falls to win him back. After saving her life when she falls through a frozen lake, he rejects her saying he does not really know who she is. Babe returns to New York despondent and rejects Marty for his betrayal despite his apology.

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. However, Cedar controls a majority of the shares and the sale is approved. Babe arrives after having studied Blake's diary (which she stole) and has determined Blake's longtime butler Emilio Lopez is actually Blake's illegitimate son (Deeds' first cousin once removed) and the true heir as a result of an affair with his maid.

Emilio immediately takes control of Blake Media and fires Cedar, much to the latter's anger, and those involved while sparing Cecil. Babe reconciles with Deeds after professing she loves him; he accepts her apology and returns her love. Emilio thanks Deeds for his support and gives him a billion dollars as a friendly farewell gesture.

Deeds returns to the pizzeria with Babe, where he reads one of his accepted cards to her as other people are seen reading it. As for his money, he spent some of it on red Corvettes for everyone in Mandrake Falls - the movie ends with Crazy Eyes crashing his Corvette, but he is unharmed.

Cast edit

  • Adam Sandler as Longfellow Deeds, Preston Blake's great-nephew, a friendly, helpful owner of a small-town pizzeria who also writes greeting cards, who inherited a billion-dollar empire from his late great-uncle.
  • Winona Ryder as Babe Bennett, a reporter for the tabloid television show Inside Access who disguises herself as Pam Dawson, a school nurse, to get close to and gather information on Deeds.
  • Peter Gallagher as Chuck Cedar, the CEO for Blake Media and Preston Blake's longtime number two who plots to seize control of Blake Media so he can make a huge profit selling it.
  • Jared Harris as Mac McGrath, the dishonest Australian head of Inside Access, who reports on Deeds' antics in New York, often misrepresenting Deeds in a negative light.
  • 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.
  • Erick Avari as Cecil Anderson, the general counsel for Blake Media.
  • John Turturro as Emilio Lopez, Preston Blake's long-serving butler and illegitimate son (therefore Deeds' long-lost 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 which also explains why Preston does not let him change his socks.
  • 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 freezes to death at the top of Mount Everest.
  • J.B. Smoove as Reuben
  • Steve Buscemi as Crazy Eyes, a citizen of Mandrake Falls and one of Deeds' customers who 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.
  • Craig Castaldo as himself, a fictional version of him who is a homeless man living in Central Park.
  • Jennifer Tisdale as a Card Reader.
  • Al Sharpton as himself; he presides over Preston Blake's funeral.
  • Walter Williamson as Kurt, a singer at the Metropolitan Opera.
  • Roark Critchlow as William.
  • Billy St. John as George.
  • George Wallace as a UNCF administrator.
  • Alfred Dennis as Old Timer.
  • Aloma Wright as Coretta Keeling.
  • Nancy Arsenault as French investor.
  • Barbara Arsenault as French investor.
  • Rob Schneider as Nazo (uncredited), a food delivery man who was previously seen in Big Daddy and appears in two brief scenes where he catches one of the cats that Deeds saves from a burning building and later reads one of Deeds' cards to it.

Production edit

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 that the cafe was a great location to use as "'Deeds' Pizza" restaurant.[2] 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. The scene where Longfellow Deeds and Chuck Cedar are playing tennis at the tennis court was filmed at Roosevelt Island, New York.

Release edit

Home media edit

Mr. Deeds was released on DVD and VHS on October 22, 2002.[3]

Reception edit

Critical response edit

Mr. Deeds received mainly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 22% based on reviews from 153 critics, with an average rating score of 4.20/10. 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."[4]

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).

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

Box office edit

Though critically panned, the film was a major financial success. Box office:

  • United States: US$126,293,452
  • International: US$44,976,083
  • Gross worldwide: US$171,269,535[1]

Accolades edit

The film won and was nominated for a number of awards throughout 2002-2003.

Year Ceremony Category Recipients Result
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Adam Sandler Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy Winona Ryder Nominated
2003 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actor Adam Sandler Nominated
Worst Actress Winona Ryder Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Adam Sandler Won

Music edit

Soundtrack edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Mr Deeds at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ per DVD 'extras' featurette
  3. ^ Hettrick, Scott (August 25, 2002). "Col TriStar adds trio of fall vid releases". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "Mr. Deeds". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. 28 June 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Home – Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.

External links edit