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'Anger Management': Sheen as Nicholson? Are they kidding?

It's mighty premature to get hot and bothered about Charlie Sheen's proposed TV show based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie "Anger Management," since no creative team has come together to develop it and no network has put its weight behind it. But when Sheen, with his typical desperate humor, said that he chose this vehicle because, "while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept," he shouldn't have been so jokey about the "big stretch."

The original movie -- with Adam Sandler playing a nice guy and Nicholson as an offbeat therapist who teaches him how to become a two-fisted nice guy -- was so flimsy it should have sent all concerned toward Career Guidance, not anger management. But it succeeded commercially because it gave Nicholson the most leeway he had since "The Witches of Eastwick" to be all-knowing in that eyebrow-wiggling way of his, and the most chances to act magisterially goofy, like conducting Sandler in "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story" while backing up traffic on New York's Queensboro Bridge.

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It was an odd-couple comedy built on one pal being a sort of benign snake in the grass - King Cobra Nicholson, of course - and the other, Sandler, being a sweet little glow-worm version of the worm who turns. Although in the movie Nicholson says he's treating Sandler for "implosive" as opposed to "explosive" anger, that's just a contorted way of explaining that he's not teaching Sandler anger management at all, but self-realization.

Nicholson resembled nothing more than an acting coach urging Sandler to feel his anger. Does anyone really believe that Sheen can summon that kind of comic-acting authority? He did bring some priceless loony gung-ho attitude to his early big-screen frolics, the "Major League" and "Hot Shots!" movies. But the few times I've watched "Two and a Half Men" all I've seen him create is a veneer of burlesque knowingness -- if you will, a tarnished sheen.

Anyone who thinks it's a lock that Sheen can fill even Nicholson's clown shoes must have swigged some tiger-blood-spiked Kool-Aid.

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