Billionaire Buffoon, Big-Headed Cartoon Join Box Office Fray

'Mr. Deeds,' 'Hey Arnold! The Movie' open friday.

A cartoonish, kidlike heir and a cartoon kid with weird hair are both

hitting theaters this weekend.

"Mr. Deeds," the first of several new Adam Sandler comedies on the way, will

roll out on the same day that "Arnold" leaps from the small screen in "Hey

Arnold! The Movie." (Click here for photos)

"Mr. Deeds" is the latest variation on the fish-out-of-water formula that

drove earlier Sandler flicks like "Happy Gilmore," "Billy Madison" and "The

Waterboy." The premise is familiar: Sandler as a simple, kindhearted

man-child with a violent (but funny) side who finds himself in unfamiliar

territory. This time it's the jet-setting world of the corporate elite,

which Sandler's character is ushered into after inheriting a media empire

worth upwards of $40 billion.

"We're talking about a man who's just a small-town fella, hanging out, doing

his thing," Sandler told Snoop Dogg during a recent "Movie House" segment. "He owns a pizza place. He's kinda

goofy, like me. And all of a sudden he has a relative who passes away who

didn't make a will up. When the man — and the man's very wealthy —

dies, legally the closest relative gets the money, and I just happen to be

this guy."

"Mr. Deeds," a remake of sorts of Frank Capra's 1936 classic "Mr. Deeds Goes

to Town," is Sandler's first picture since 2000's commercially disappointing

"Little Nicky" and the first of many upcoming projects. Sandler is currently

shooting next year's "Anger Management" alongside Jack Nicholson and Marisa


This fall's "Punch-Drunk Love" promises a different look at Sandler, who

will step away from his more traditional characters under the careful

direction of filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights," "Magnolia").

Anderson spent some time writing for "Saturday Night Live" in order to bone

up on his comedic chops for "Punch-Drunk Love," which co-stars Emily Watson

("Gosford Park") and Anderson-film regular Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The

Talented Mr. Ripley").

"8 Crazy Nights" will take Sandler even further from his established style

by moving him into the realm of cartoons. The animated holiday flick is set

for release in November.

Speaking of cartoons, the inevitable big-screen version of Nickelodeon's

"Hey Arnold," less than imaginatively titled "Hey Arnold! The Movie,"

revolves around the big-headed teen toon's efforts to stop a greedy

industrialist from bulldozing his neighborhood. (MTV's parent company,

Viacom, also owns Nickelodeon Movies, which produced "Hey Arnold! The


"Hey Arnold!" will have to contend with another animated kid flick, "Lilo &

Stitch," which gave Tom Cruise's "Minority Report" a considerable run for

its money last weekend (see "Tom Cruise

Threatened By Tubby Blue Alien").