"I hate love. I hate you. I hate me," sings Adam Sandler’s Davey Stone in this animated musical’s opening song. Life has gotten pretty bad for Davey. He’s the town delinquent. Usually drunk, he’s been in and out of jail, therapy and rehab so many times the judge has even lost count. The film’s narrator calls him a "33-year-old crazy Jewish guy." So when he resists arrest for yet another criminal infraction and leads police officers on a destructive chase in the snow, he’s not a candidate for any sort of civil leniency. No one has any more patience for the kid troublemaker who grew up to be the adult troublemaker. But seconds before the judge is going to throw the book at him, a little old man named Whitey Duvall steps up and hands him a get-out-of-jail-free card. Whitey is 70 years old, about four feet tall, has what looks like Persian cat hair on his chest, has two feet that aren’t even close to the same size, and has come to be the punch line for every town joke anyone can think of. He’s also the kindest gentleman on the face of the earth, not that anyone would admit it without a giggle. He offers to take Davey under his wing and keep him out of the slammer by making him his assistant junior league basketball referee. Davey just rolls his eyes, but the judge okays the idea and Davey finds himself an unwilling participant in one last chance.
positive elements: Make no mistake, Eight Crazy Nights is rude, lewd and brimming with ‘tude. It earns every letter and number of its PG-13 rating. But it also boasts a remarkably apt moral lesson. Just letting you in on that little fact is something of a movie spoiler since halfway through the picture, audiences still don’t know what to make of Davey. But it’s necessary to plunder a few plot points in order to give the film a fair shake. Whitey has lived a selfless, sacrificial life of service and kindness to others. As his age catches up with him, he’s becoming convinced that no one cares. Davey has lived a selfish, mean-spirited, vulgar life and he too is convinced that no one cares. Even when Whitey demonstrates to Davey that his friendly overtures aren’t rooted in anything short of righteous compassion, Davey’s not ready to accept anything from anyone. Gradually, though, Whitey’s actions break through the ice that difficult circumstances have formed around Davey’s heart. Davey returns the favor by risking incarceration to convince the town that Whitey’s the biggest hero it has ever known. He also blasts the townsfolk for being mean to Whitey and for making fun of him. "I bring this up to you," he says, "because I was the worst offender of all." Sound familiar? (Read 1 Timothy 1:15.)
spiritual content: Eight Crazy Nights refers to the eight days of Hanukkah. As in the real world, the holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas coexist in the film, which gives more-or-less equal time to Christian imagery (a manger scene), Jewish traditions and Santa. Davey trashes every brand of holiday cheer, but pays special attention to Hanukkah ("Hanukkah is the festival of lights," he sings, "One day of presents/h--- no, we get eight crazy nights"). Later, he hisses at a wide-eyed boy, "Maybe on night four the Hanukkah monster will come and take a big crap on your bed." One character equates a shopping mall with a church sanctuary. On a more positive note, while Whitey’s lifelong testimony of kindness and generosity isn’t inspired by religious fervor, it clearly models God’s way of doing things.
nudity and sexual content: A very drunk Davey comes on to his car, making sexual motions on top of it while fondling its trim. Whitey strips down to his jock strap in the locker room (his backside is covered with fur). Verbal and visual jokes fly about everything from Viagra to phone sex to bestiality to masturbation to transgender operations to cross-dressing to homosexual activity. Davey sings about squeezing an old woman’s "melons." One of the townswomen has three large breasts which she shakes vigorously from side to side when she laughs (she’s also seen breastfeeding three infants). A fat preteen boy is teased about his large "boobies" and told to wear a bra (later he’s seen trying on women’s undergarments at a Victoria’s Secret store). Davey makes a racy comment about a young woman’s behind (the camera zooms in for a close-up). When store logos and overstuffed couches come to life at the mall (in Davey’s imagination) an oversexed bottle of GNC vitamins makes ribald remarks about an animated Victoria’s Secret negligee.
violent content: Running away from the police, Davey wrecks snowmen, smashes ice sculptures and generally creates havoc around town. Disgusted with having to referee kids’ basketball games, he forcefully kicks his shoes off (one flies up and breaks one of the gym’s lights; the other knocks out the scoreboard operator). A few of the basketball sequences are rather violent with Whitey getting smashed with the ball. Whitey falls from the top of a very large Christmas tree and crashes down through its branches. Davey pushes Whitey (who is inside a porta-potty) down the side of a hill, then freezes him into a "poopsicle" with a water hose ("That’s a good look for you," Davey smirks when he sees Whitey covered in feces, "but for health reasons I should probably spray you off"). A man sets Davey’s home on fire. Davey crashes through a glass door and hurls a bottle of booze at a blaring burglar alarm. He throws an egg in a man’s face and gives him a Charlie Horse. He also gives himself an "over-the-head" wedgie. Whitey’s twin sister, Eleanor, kicks a man in the eye, knocking him unconscious. Laughing hysterically, a man slams his head repeatedly into a table. Whitey is zapped with a lightning bolt (you see his skeleton in classic cartoon fashion).
crude or profane language: Four or five s-words along with more than a dozen milder profanities and crudities. The Lord’s name is misused a half-dozen times.
drug and alcohol content: Davey is a mean drunk. He’s frequently seen guzzling the poisonous stuff and acting out as a result. He also jokes about using Eleanor’s trombone as a bong. A bus driver muses about "hippie-dippy mushroom flashbacks." One song has a line in it about being on crack.
other negative elements: Just about everything that might produce a guilty guffaw from a high school sophomore is featured here. Belching. Flatulence. Excrement. Laughter causes kids to spew mucous from their noses and deer to forcibly expel waste. A group of men wearing white pants are shown with yellow stains spreading around their crotches. Davey moons a group of carolers and then expels brownish-yellow gas in their faces. He also makes obscene gestures at Whitey. The losers of a pick-up basketball game are forced to eat a man’s sweaty jock strap (there’s lots of talk about it beforehand and images of them doing it). Davey frequently jokes about Whitey dying. The old man’s seizures are played for laughs. An opening live-action short titled "A Day With the Meatball" features a dog defecating on the floor. A closing song includes a joke about Osama bin Laden hating Jews because he "lost a skating match to Sarah Hughes."
conclusion: Begging forgiveness from Mr. Dickens, imagine for a moment that A Christmas Carol had been rewritten by the cast of Saturday Night Live. Picture Opera Man as Scrooge and envision Tiny Tim played by a flatulent baby deer staring into the headlights of a fast-moving truck. Terrible, isn’t it? Yet as flawed as Eight Crazy Nights is, one cannot responsibly ignore its freakish nobility. The morality tale is intact. It’s just encased in deer dung—literally. It’s a juxtaposition so jarring its likely to find favor with no one. Hardcore fans of animated debauchery (such as can be found in South Park) will hate its sappy ending and "tiresome" life lessons. The rest of us will despise its vulgar asides, shameless innuendo and cruel jests.