December 19, 2011

25 Days: Mixed Nuts
by docsmartypants

Mixed Nuts (1994) Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, Liev Schreiber, Rita Wilson

Like an actual jar of mixed nuts, there are a few bits of this film that I love and a whole lot of bits I’d rather discretely spit into a waste basket when no one’s looking. It’s such a bizarre mix of stupid and delightful. Mostly stupid. I have really fond memories of watching this with Erin back in the ’90s, and maybe if we’d been able to watch it over the phone together this year I would have enjoyed it more, but sadly Erin’s pre-Christmas baking schedule got in the way, so I watched it alone.

Mixed Nuts feels a lot like a play, which makes sense I guess since it was originally a French play, then a French film. It has a very good cast, but it never quite comes together as a movie. Even Steve Martin, who I really like, feels like he’s phoning it in a bit.

Oh my god, Adam Sandler is so incredibly annoying in this film. In what I will now call He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special Syndrome, I had actually completely forgotten that Sandler was in this movie and at his most infantile and irritating. Clearly my mind couldn’t take the stress of remembering his performance. Adam, I’ve seen you in The Wedding Singer; I know you are capable of entertaining me. So why are you so bad in so many things?!?

Mixed Nuts, populated by a string of oddball characters, is set at a crisis hotline office on Christmas Eve. Cue the zany shenanigans. Of all the should-be-great people in this movie, only two really bring me any joy: Liev Schreiber and Madeline Kahn.

Schreiber plays a cross-dresser who shows up at the office looking for a sympathetic ear, and he looks better in a dress than I do. I’d be upset about that, but as a lifelong UU I got used to men looking better in dresses than me back in high school. I know the dude-in-a-dress angle is played mostly for laughs here, but I think Schreiber is actually very likable in the role.

And then there’s Kahn, who plays the part of the tough older woman who enforces the rules at the hotline and not-so-quietly passes judgment on everyone. She is hilarious, as always, especially when dealing with an obscene phone caller (see clip below). I love Madeline Kahn SO much, you guys, and I am never going to get over the fact that she’s dead. Never. Universe, you are not forgiven for taking this woman from us!

Anyways, Mixed Nuts is the kind of film that is worth watching if it comes on TV some afternoon, or maybe if it shows up on Netflix instant queue. It certainly has its moments. Just know that to get to them you’ll have to put up with Adam Sandler playing a ukulele and thinking he’s adorable. You’re mistaken, Adam. Only I am adorable when it comes to playing a ukulele.

Random time-capsule moment: They mention Nuprin at one point. Do they still make Nuprin? You remember: Little. Yellow. Different? I hadn’t thought about Nuprin in ages. Memoriiiiies…

Tune in tomorrow for Day Dear God, When Is It Over? Erm…I mean, Day 20: The Office (UK) Christmas Special.

posted under Media
One Comment to

“25 Days: Mixed Nuts”

  1. On December 21st, 2011 at 1:49 pm ROCKPORT MOM Says:

    Your commitment to journalism is inspiring. Move over Roger Ebert. You have now inspired me to watch this film, which I might have gone through life without viewing. (Oh, the humanity!) I agree that the chance to see Liev (all dolled up) and Madeline (in any form) is worth a place on my Netflix queue. Oh the Christmas spirit is truly with us now!

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