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The Goofy Adam Sandler Classic That's Killing It On Netflix

The cinematic landscape looked different back in the year 2000. It was the year when How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the highest grossing movie, and any film with enough perceived brandability got a Game Boy Color adaptation. Samuel L. Jackson was only in one superhero flick, playing a man with the astonishing ability to shatter his own bones with ease.

And in a wild throw of the financial dice, Adam Sandler was handed $85 million — according to Business Insider, more than twice the budget of any of his previous movies — to create the high-concept comedy Little Nicky. The move followed a string of hits for the Saturday Night Live veteran — Big Daddy, which was released the previous year, had pulled in nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on a $34.2 million budget despite tepid critical reception. 1998's The Waterboy made back roughly nine times its $23 million price tag.

Little Nicky, which is currently burning up Netflix's daily Top 10 list, represented a big leap forward for Adam Sandler movies. It's an ambitious film, revolving around Nicky, the favorite son of Satan (played by Harvey Keitel) as he tries to prevent his brothers (Rhy Ifans and Tommy Lister Jr.) from taking over the world and knocking off their old man.

Little Nicky is one hell of an Adam Sandler movie

Roger Ebert called Little Nicky "the best Sandler movie to date." He also described the star's performance as "a distraction," defining him as a man who "has devoted his career to finding new kinds of obnoxious voices and the characters to go along with them." The sentiment wasn't a unique one, and Little Nicky bombed with reviewers, earning a 22% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, on top of a 56% audience score. Somewhere between the satanic plot and early-onset Sandler fatigue, the movie tanked at the box office, opening behind McG's Charlie's Angels reboot and pulling just shy of $60 million worldwide.

20 years later, Little Nicky is a bonkers reminder of a disparate point in filmmaking history, and a hell of a goofy ride. Cameos from previous Happy Madison characters are a treat for fans. Comedy royalty litters the credits: Rodney Dangerfield makes an appearance as Lucifer, Dana Carvey stops by for a scene, and Robert Smigel plays a different talking dog than usual.

Yes, Little Nicky wound up nominated for around half a dozen Golden Raspberries, and only avoided winning one thanks to Battlefield: Earth's sweep that year. But it's a good time, flush with Sandler's usual suspects and heavy on raunch. More than anything, it offers viewers a semi-cathartic idea of what Hitler has been up to for the last half a century.