Little Nicky is a 2000 American fantasy comedy film directed by Steven Brill. It stars Adam Sandler as Nicky Schear, one of Satan's three sons as he attempts to save his father and prevent his brothers from taking over Earth.
The film performed poorly financially and received negative reviews from critics.
The story revolves around a struggle to determine which of Satan's three sons will succeed their father as ruler of Hell. Adrian is the most devious, Cassius is the cruelest, and Nicky is the kindest. Adrian and Cassius claim that Nicky's mother is a goat and torment him by controlling his body with their minds. Nicky has had a speech impediment and a disfigured jaw since Cassius hit him in the face with a shovel.
Having been the Prince of Darkness for 10,000 years, the Devil assembles his sons to tell them that they are not ready to succeed him yet. Angered by this decision, Adrian and Cassius go to Earth to create a new Hell by possessing religious and political leaders in New York City. As they leave, they freeze the entrance to Hell, preventing more souls from entering and causing Satan to begin falling apart. To stop Adrian and Cassius, Satan sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that traps whoever drinks from it inside.
At first, Nicky has trouble staying alive on Earth. He is killed several times, landing in Hell and returning to New York each time. While learning how to eat and sleep, he meets a talking bulldog named Mr. Beefy, rents an apartment with an actor named Todd, and falls in love with a design student named Valerie.
Nicky's first encounter with his brothers occurs when Adrian sees him with Valerie, takes mental control of his body, and scares her away. Then Nicky sees Cassius on television, possessing the referee of a Globetrotters game. When he goes to the court and tricks Cassius into the flask, Satanist metalheads John and Peter swear loyalty/friendship to Nicky. That evening, Nicky tries to apologize to Valerie. The meeting goes badly at first, but she accepts him after he explains who he is and why he is on Earth.
The next day, Adrian possesses the Chief of the NYPD and accuses Nicky of mass murder. Not knowing what to do, Nicky has Todd kill him so he can go back to Hell and ask his father for advice, but his father has trouble hearing because his ears have fallen off, and his assistants are in a panic because the midnight deadline to capture Adrian and Cassius is only hours away. Back on Earth again, Nicky and his friends devise a plan to capture Adrian in a subway station, but Adrian discovers their trick. In the ensuing fight, Adrian grabs Valerie and dives onto the track as a train approaches, but Nicky throws her out of the way, leaving himself and Adrian to be killed by the train.
Arriving in Hell just minutes before midnight, Adrian begins the process of taking over Hell by pushing what remains of his father aside and sitting on the throne, rising to Central Park, and starting a riotous party. Meanwhile, Nicky wakes up in Heaven as a reward for sacrificing himself and meets his mother Holly, an angel who tells him that he can defeat Adrian with the Inner Light that he inherited from her. After she gives him a mysterious orb, he goes to Central Park. Adrian appears to win a battle by locking Nicky in the flask and turning himself into a bat, but Nicky escapes from the flask. When he shatters the orb, Ozzy Osbourne appears, bites Adrian's head off, and spits it into the flask.
With his brothers captured, Nicky is ready to save his father. After he sins to make sure he goes to Hell, he and Valerie express their love for each other and she kills him. In Hell, Satan regains his body and suggests Nicky stay with Valerie. The film ends a year later, when Nicky and Valerie live in New York with their infant son. John and Peter later die in a plane crash, ending up in Hell as guests of Nicky.
- Adam Sandler as Nicky
- Harvey Keitel as Satan
- Rhys Ifans as Adrian
- Patricia Arquette as Valerie Veran
- Reese Witherspoon as Holly
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Cassius
- Robert Smigel as the voice of Mr. Beefy
- Allen Covert as Todd
- Rodney Dangerfield as Lucifer
- Jonathan Loughran as John
- Peter Dante as Peter
- Blake Clark as Jimmy the Demon
- Kevin Nealon as Stanley "Tit-Head" the Gatekeeper
- Dana Carvey as the Referee
- Michael McKean as The Chief of Police
- Laura Harring as Mrs. Dunleavy
- Jess Harnell as the vocal effects of Gary the Monster
- Regis Philbin as Himself
- Ozzy Osbourne as Himself
- Bill Walton as Himself
- Dan Marino as Himself
- Henry Winkler as Himself
- George Wallace as Mayor of New York City
- Radio Man as Himself (Deleted scene)
- Rob Schneider as The Townie (Playing his character from The Waterboy)
- Carl Weathers as Chubbs (Playing his character from Happy Gilmore)
- Jon Lovitz as The Peeper
- Quentin Tarantino as The Deacon
- Clint Howard as Andrew/Nipples
- John Witherspoon as The Street Vendor
It opened at #2 at the North American box office making $16 million USD in its opening weekend, behind Charlie's Angels, which was on its second consecutive week at the top spot. The film went on to earn $39.5 million domestically and another $18.8 million worldwide, bringing the total to $58.3 million.
Based on 115 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 22% of critics gave Little Nicky a positive review. The site's consensus states [that] "Despite the presence of a large, talented cast, the jokes in Little Nicky are dumb, tasteless, and not that funny, and Adam Sandler's character is grating to watch." Comedian and former Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Michael J. Nelson named the film the worst comedy ever made. Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, describing Little Nicky as "the best Sandler movie to date" and the Nicky character as "intriguing", while at the same time lamenting Sandler's lack of finesse and vocal quirks.
The film was nominated for five awards at the 21st Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Adam Sandler), Worst Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. It lost in all categories to Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta. At the 2000 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, the film received seven total nominations: Worst Picture (lost to Battlefield Earth), Worst Actor for Sandler (lost to John Travolta), Worst On-Screen Couple for Sandler and that unfunny pit-bull (lost to John Travolta and everyone in the galaxy for Battlefield Earth), Most Annoying Fake Accent for Sandler, Worst On-Screen Hairstyle for Sandler (lost to both Travolta and Forest Whitaker for Battlefield Earth), Most Annoying Product Placement for Popeye's Chicken (lost to FedEx and Wilson in Cast Away), and Most Unfunny Comic Relief for the painfully unfunny talking pit-bull (lost to Tom Green for Road Trip and Charlie's Angels). As noted, its only win was for Most Annoying Fake Accent.
Little Nicky was released on DVD and VHS on April 24, 2001. The DVD includes two audio commentaries, a special feature dedicated to rock/metal music, the music video "School of Hard Knocks" by P.O.D., and deleted scenes.
The soundtrack album, Little Nicky (Music from the Motion Picture), was released October 31, 2000 through Maverick Records and featured a lineup that leaned heavily toward Maverick recording artists that included Deftones, Insolence, Muse and Ünloco.
A Game Boy Color game was released based on the film shortly after its release.