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Film / Little Nicky

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A Black Comedy Fantasy film from 2000 starring Adam Sandler as the eponymous Nicky.

Nicky is the third son of Satan, and unlike his older brothers Adrian and Cassius, is not intelligent, strong, or all that evil, but as described by his father is "such a sweet boy". After 10,000 years ruling Hell, Satan is expected to step down from his throne and let one of his kids take over, but he feels none of them are ready yet because he believes in a Balance Between Good and Evil, so he shall continue to rule. Adrian and Cassius are furious over this and, rather than spend another 10,000 years waiting to be given power and authority, decide to leave Hell to go to Earth and make their own claims there.

Unfortunately, their passing through the gates of Hell causes those gates to literally freeze over: no new souls can enter, and Satan begins to lose his powers. The only way to put things right is to force Adrian and Cassius to come home, but Satan is too weak to go, so Nicky has to do it. With an enchanted flask he can use to trap his brothers inside to force them to come back to Hell, Nicky travels to Earth to try and capture them and save his father. Hilarity Ensues.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Ozzy Osbourne shows up just long enough to bite the head off a bat. This is based on an infamous incident that happened during an Ozzy Osbourne concert in the 1980s.
  • Aerith and Bob: Satan's sons consist of Cassius, Adrian and Nicky.
  • All Part of the Show: A demon can get away with all sorts of mischief and "special effects" at a Harlem Globetrotters game. Even when the basketball explodes, this only results in an annoyed referee.
  • Alliterative Name: Valerie Veran, the last of Adam's "V-name" girlfriends.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • In two deleted scenes, the gatekeeper's name is Stanley.
    • In another deleted scene, the transvestite's name is Andrew.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Solve" by dream is the image song for the Japanese release.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Nicky's roommate Todd.
  • Angelic Beauty: When Nicky finds himself in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, the angels are all attractive perky women. One of them, played by Reese Witherspoon, reveals that she's his mother.
  • Anti Anti Christ?: Nicky, who's actually quite a likable guy.
  • Artistic License – Music: When Nicky puts on a Chicago record, it starts playing a song that was on Chicago III - but the album sleeve is for Chicago IV.
  • Ass Shove:
    • The ass is Hitler's. The shoved item is a pineapple. Apparently, by law, he has to receive an ass shove daily for his crimes. He gets to pick the pineapple, though it's implied he is often forced to pick one of the larger ones. Ouch. Plus: it's prickly-side first. Double-ouch!
    • The pineapple only happens once. The second time at the end of the movie he has Cassius and Adrian shoved up there.
    Lucifer: Alright, boys! Enjoy your new home!
    Cassius and Adrian: Oh nonononononono..!!!
    Hitler: HOLY SCHNIT!!!
  • Audible Gleam: The Flask, when first handed to Nicky.
  • Babies Ever After: In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Nicky (Adam Sandler), the son of Satan, is revealed to be raising a bouncing baby hellspawn with his love interest.
  • Badass Adorable: Mr. Beefy.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Apparently Satan's job. If either Adrian, Cassius or Nicky took the throne, they would upset that balance, because Adrian and Cassius are way too evil, and Nicky isn't evil enough.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Apparently, classic pop-rock band Chicago puts subliminal messages in their songs commanding listeners to spill the blood of innocents.
  • Big Bad: Adrian.
  • Big Brother Bully: The attacks from Cassius and Adrian (specifically, at least one event involving a shovel) are why Nicky has speech issues.
  • Black Speech: Nicky usually speaks normally (for Nicky, anyway), but when he sleep talks...
  • Bowdlerize: In the trailer, Pete says "Chicago's awesome" instead of "Chicago kicks ass!"
  • Brains and Brawn: Satan's two evil sons have this dynamic going between them. Cassius is an enormous Scary Black Man, whereas Adrian is a much weaker-looking but more cunning Evil Brit.
  • Brick Joke: In order to prove Nicky's evil powers Mr. Beefy encourages him to change a soda into something disgusting like engine oil or moose piss. In the epilogue, his son does this with someone else's drink.
  • Butt-Monkey: The blind preacher who suffers numerous Amusing Injuries when in Nicky's presence.
  • Cain and Abel: With Adrian and Cassius as Cain and Nicky as Abel.
  • The Cameo: An assload. The best has to be Quentin Tarantino as the blind preacher.
  • Care-Bear Stare:
    Nicky: Release the good.
    [shoots rainbows out of hands and group of bunnies appear]
    Nicky: Yes, they're furry.
    Demon: Bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny!
  • Celebrity Power: What ultimately defeats the Big Bad? Ozzy Osbourne, who was summoned from an orb that was given to Nicky by God.
  • Character Overlap:
  • Clock King: Jimmy always reminds people about the specific times for punishments.
  • The Comically Serious: Linda Lopez reports on the serious riots going on in New York... then announces that she's cheating on her husband with the weatherman.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: "Are there boobs on my head?!" "Yeah, big ones."
  • Continuity Nod: When Nicky arrives in Heaven, he sees Chubbs (who was Happy Gilmore's golf coach).
  • Creator Cameo: Steven Brill acted as a reporter talking to a boy during the basketball game.
  • Curse Cut Short: Cassius reacts to Adrian's betrayal with "You motherfu-" before Adrian stoppers the flask.
  • Deal with the Devil: Subverted. Dan Marino wants to sell his soul to Satan, but he's rejected because Satan thinks he's too much of a nice guy to go to Hell...and because he's a Jets fan.
  • Death Is Cheap: Nicky was born in Hell and left it near the start of the movie. Dying and being sent back there just means he gets to leave and try again.
  • Death as Comedy: "I got hit by a bright light... that was attached to a lot of metal..."
  • Decomposite Character: Lucifer and Satan are generally depicted as the same entity. In this movie, however, they're father and son.
  • Detect Evil: The blind preacher can sense Nicky and his son's demonic presence, but doesn't seem to sense their angel blood.
  • Deus ex Machina: See Celebrity Power above. Possibly one of the strangest Deus Ex endings in history.
  • Died Happily Ever After: John and Peter ended up dying in a plane crash because they forgot to stock a pilot. Despite this, they ended up living in Nicky's old room, and couldn't get any happier.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Nicky needed to go to hell again, Todd volunteers to do it. What does he do to motivate himself to kill Nicky, he imagines him to be Kevin Spacey for stealing his acting parts.
  • Dumb Is Good: Nicky is far dumber and nicer than Adrian. One character even flat out remarks that there's no way Nicky can outsmart him. However, it's implied that Nicky isn't dumber because he's good, so much as because he's suffered a lot of head trauma over the years. Thanks to his brothers.
  • Dumb Muscle: Cassius.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even with the sympathetic portrayal of the demons, it's the Big Bad Adrian who balks at seeing Andrew in drag and dancing barechested.
    Adrian: Soon, you will see things more horrible than you can even imagine! (grimaces) Well, maybe not that horrible, but still pretty bad.
  • Eye Scream: An unfortunate dartboard with a face, courtesy of Cassius.
    Adrian: You got it right in the eye!
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: Parodied in that Nicky's father (Satan) is a bit of a Dirty Old Man, while Nicky's mother (an angel) is a blonde Valley Girl.
  • French Maid: Adolf Hitler. Yes, really.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Cassius mind-wrestles Nicky into punching himself in the crotch.
    • Rob Schneider's "You can do it!" guy encourages Nicky to do this to one of his brothers during their fight in the flask. Cassius goes down instantly.
    • Mr. Beefy pulls an inversion of this trope to save Nicky from Adrian by firing an arrow from his crotch.
      Mr. Beefy: Now that hurt the both of us.
  • A Hell of a Time: What happens when John and Peter (the two stoner metalheads) die in a plane crash? They go to Hell. "They've never been happier."
    • Then again said metalheads are Pals With The Devil's Son so it makes sense that they'd get special treatment. They even get to stay in Nicky's old room (which is a stereotypical metalhead teen room, walls covered in band posters and all).
  • Hellhound: Technically, Mr. Beefy is one of these.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Automatically gets you into Heaven.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Satan punishes Stanley by growing boobs on his head. Later, when Adrian finds out there's something Satan and his crew won't tell him, Adrian gives Stanley's head boobs a titty twister in order to learn the details.
  • Horned Humanoid: Jimmy the Demon.
  • Hybrid Power: Being the offspring of Satan and an angel, Nicky can perform both good and evil miracles.
  • Karmic Rape: Part of Hitler's eternal punishment in Hell is to be periodically anally violated by the Devil with a pineapple.
    • The Peeping Tom at the beginning of the movie, who tried to convince the kid of the mother he was spying on that he was just a "big bird", gets to be sexually assaulted by a big, horny bird in hell.
  • Large Ham: Adrian and Cassius certainly have their moments, especially Adrian.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Who is Nicky's mom? Well, it says right on the poster, doesn't it?
  • Legacy Character: Nicky's father is the second Satan; the first is Rodney Dangerfield. Even in Hell, he gets no respect.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Or mother, in this case.
  • Metal Head: John and Peter are two Satanic Metalheads who think it's unbelievably awesome that they get to hang out with the Devil's son.
    • Nicky himself probably also qualifies; his bedroom walls are covered with posters for various hard rock and heavy metal bands.
  • Mister Seahorse: In the epilogue, it's revealed that Stanley and Gary the Monster had four children. So, either this was involved or one of them is secretly female.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: At one point, Nicky's final fight with Adrian becomes a pillow fight.
  • Nice Guy: Nicky and Todd.
  • Our Founder: The first Satan (Lucifer) founded Hell. Presumably after he was kicked out of Heaven. In a Deleted Scene, Hell was initially named Boogerland.
  • Parental Favoritism: Nicky, apparently. Which might explain why his brothers pick on him so much.
  • The Peeping Tom: The film starts with one falling out of his tree and going to Hell. Played by Jon Lovitz, no less.
  • Poke the Poodle: When urged to turn a Coke into something disgusting (like moose piss), Nicky turns it into Pepsi.
  • Product Placement: "Popeye's Chicken is fuckin' awesome!"
    • Which had a very weird sort of censoring on network TV - any instances of "Popeye's Chicken" being uttered is either bleeped or, in the case of the giant tub it came in, redacted.
    • In a deleted scene, there is a Hostess Tree at Heaven.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: While he's not the villain, The Devil could count as this, seeing as he pretty much only punishes and tortures people because it's his job, rather than getting any enjoyment out of it (well, except for whenever he punishes Hitler and Dan Marino).
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Satan + Hitler + Pineapple. Hilarity Ensues. It's Hitler, so it's okay.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The heroic side has Nicky (the half-devil, half-angel), John and Peter (two metalhead Satanists), Mr. Beefy (a talking dog), Todd (an ambiguously gay struggling actor), and Valerie (a design student).
  • Resurrective Immortality: Nicky dies a bunch of times during his time on Earth, but since he's the son of Satan, he just ends up in Hell each time and can immediately go right back. The only time he's delayed by this is because he ends up in Heaven instead.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Ironically, Satan's least evil son is a fan of heavy metal and hard rock.
  • Satan Is Good: The current Satan is mostly portrayed as this. He punishes sinners, maintains the balance of good and evil, and is a supportive dad who only wants what's best for Nicky. He's fine with him living on Earth.
  • Scary Black Man: Cassius
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Henry Winkler is covered in bees... twice.
  • See You in Hell: Adrian while holding Nicky in front of a train. It would've been quite literal, except "dying" for someone he loved sent Nicky to Heaven.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Nicky and Adrian duel with their good and evil powers, with highlights including Adrian turning a cute baby into a creepy midget.
  • Shared Universe: Little Nicky is implied to take place within the same continuity as Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy through the appearances of characters portrayed by Carl Weathers and Rob Schneider.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Actually a rather touching one to Chris Farley, a good friend of Adam Sandler's, who had recently died. According to the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue in Heaven, he ended up working in Heaven as a fitness instructor and dating Nicky's mother (Reese Witherspoon).
    • The names of Satan's sons: Adrian's name is a Shout-Out to Rosemary's Baby. Cassius' is a Shout-Out to The Divine Comedy where Cassius is one of the three traitors being devoured in hell by Satan (along with Judas Iscariot and his co-conspirator Brutus). Nicky's is a Shout-Out to the fact that the Devil was often called "Old Nick" in English slang.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: The puppy phone's ringing of barks can be a little too cute for Nicky.
  • Son of a Whore: Both Adrian and Cassius' mothers are prostitutes, unlike Nicky, whose mother is an Angel.
  • Speech Impediment: Nicky, however, this is due to having his face smashed with a shovel by Cassius.
  • The Speechless: Gary the Monster doesn't talk, but he can laugh and roar.
  • Spoiler Cover: The poster's tagline reveals a plot twist only shown halfway through. Prior to The Reveal, Nicky's convinced his mother is an actual goat.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Parodied. Nicky says that, contrary to popular belief, Ozzy Osbourne "always came straight with his messages" — then, as a sort of consolation prize, he reveals a Satanic backwards message on a song by the soft-rock band Chicago.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Nicky's mother Holly, who looks younger than Nicky himself. Justified in that angels don't grow old.
  • Take That!: Grand Central Station is apparently the exit gate of Hell.
  • Talking Animal: Mr. Beefy, being a talking bulldog.
  • Theme Naming: Those Two Guys are called John and Peter. Crosses into The Danza as they are credited as Jonathan Loughran and Peter Dante. Yes, Dante.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Nicky is killed seven times in the span of the ninety minute movie. Being a denizen of Hell, he can just walk right back out. Deaths include: Being hit by a train twice, hit by a truck and a bus, attacked by a polar bear off-screen, drowned by his roommate and for the finale hit in the head with a large rock.
  • Toilet Humour: After all, it is an Adam Sandler movie.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nicky's strategy for finding his brothers (who, being demons, are master shape-shifters) is going up to every single carbon-based life form in New York City and demanding, "Get in the flask." This includes even carnivorous animals at the zoo. And at least one guy (plus a cop) beats Nicky up.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The twist of Nicky having an angel for a mother was spoiled by trailers and posters as part of the premise, despite being something of a twist in the film.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When The Mayor (being possessed by Cassius) has lowered the drinking age from 21 to 10, we see three 10-year-old boys come out of a pub, drunk. One of them projectile vomits.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending has a small blurb of what happened to the main characters one year after Adrian's and Cassius's failed coup of Hell.
    • Nicky and Valerie married and settled on Earth having a son. While gardening, Valerie accidentally hit Nicky with a shovel which fixed his awkward face. He's still no George Clooney.
      • Their son Zachariah was suspended from nursery school for turning another kid's milk into moose piss.
    • Todd staged his own one man show on Broadway but unfortunately only one man showed up to see it, Andrew the transvestite.
    • After being thrown out of a strip club, Mr. Beefy reunited with his ex-girlfriend Heather the rat and they married producing five of the ugliest children you have ever seen.
    • Stanley "Tithead" the Gatekeeper and Gary the Monster also have a litter of their own.
    • Satan and Holly try dating again for awhile but unable to deal with a long distance relationship breakup amiably and pursue othe love interests.
    • John and Peter used their 25 million dollar reward and bought Led Zeppelin's old tour plane. They filled it with cake, beer, and great music but forgot to hire a pilot and crashed on takeoff. They are now shown happy for all eternity in Nicky's old room in Hell.
  • White Sheep: The whole joke with Nicky's character is that he's laughably incompetent at being evil despite being raised as part of a family of demons. It's because his mom was actually an angel.
  • You Are Not Ready: The reason why Satan chooses neither Adrian and Cassius as his successor, since balance needs to be maintained and they don't have an ounce of good to go with their overwhelming evil.
  • You Have Failed Me: Satan gave Stanley titty heads for letting Adrian and Cassius escape.