|Portrayed by|| |
In 1978, a young Dave Buznik is about to kiss the girl of his dreams, Sarah Plowman , when a local bully, Arnie Shankman, pulls down his pants and underwear, embarrassing him in front of everybody. This leaves Dave with lasting trauma about public affection, as well as repressing his emotions.
In the present day, Dave lives in New York, working as a secretary for Frank Head, an abusive boss who takes credit for Dave's work. His problems also extend to his private life, much to the concern of his girlfriend Linda. Her ex-boyfriend and best friend Andrew is in her life constantly, and makes no resistance in being condescending to Dave.
While flying to a business meeting, Dave sits next to a man named Buddy Rydell. Buddy irritates Dave, and after Buddy pressures Dave to watch a movie with him, Dave asks the flight attendant for a headset. She ignores him, and when Dave asks her again, she overreacts and demands that he keep calm. The flight's sky marshal appears, overreacting to the situation as well, and tasers Dave. Dave is then arrested, tried, found guilty of assault, and sentenced to anger management therapy.Arriving at his first therapy session, he discovers that his therapist is Buddy. There, Dave meets a diverse group with assorted mental issues. Dave loses his temper more than once, mostly due to Buddy's odd therapy techniques.
After the session, Buddy tells Dave that he will have to attend double the entire therapy course, recognizing Dave's problem as passive-aggressive anger. Later that night at a bar, Dave and Chuck get into a confrontation due to Chuck's anger. Dave accidentally strikes a cocktail waitress, while trying to stop a bar fight that Chuck had just started. Due to this, Dave ends up landing back in court. There, brash Buddy enlists Dave in his intense anger management therapy, moving into Dave’s apartment, where he finds various ways to aggravate him. Among these, Buddy accompanies Dave to work where he insults Dave's boss and Andrew, whose father knows Frank.
After receiving a phone call for Buddy, Dave is asked to tell him that his mother is having minor surgery in Boston. As a joke, he exaggerates its seriousness. Regretting his deceit, Dave confesses and Buddy forgives him, but vows to get him back. Buddy then tells Dave that he has to accompany him to Boston to check on his mother. On the way back to New York, they stop at a restaurant. There, Dave meets and goes home with an attractive woman at Buddy's insistence. He later comes back to the bar after rejecting her out of loyalty to Linda. Later, Dave is devastated to learn that Buddy has told Linda about the woman. Buddy reveals that the woman is actually a former patient of his and that this was his way of getting back at Dave. Buddy agrees that when they get back to New York, he will tell Linda the truth.On their way back, Buddy takes a detour to a Buddhist temple, so that Dave can confront Arnie. Now a monk, he is remorseful for his previous behavior, except for pulling down his pants when they were still kids. Buddy quickly starts a confrontation by lying to Arnie about insulting comments Dave made about Buddha and things that he did to tease Arnie's nutty sister. Dave beats Arnie in a fight, then he and Buddy are chased from the grounds.
Back in New York, Dave attempts to propose to Linda but loses his nerve. Disappointed, Linda suggests that they take a break from their relationship. Later, Dave learns that Buddy has started dating Linda. He has an outburst and attacks Buddy, prompting him to end up in court on assault charges. Afterwards, Dave's boss browbeats him to return his latest assignment and gives the promotion Dave was clamoring for, to Andrew. Fed up, Dave snaps in his boss' office, punches Andrew out after ordering him to stay away from Linda, humiliates his boss and orders him to give him the promotion, to which he agrees.
Dave learns that Buddy is taking Linda out to a New York Yankees game that night. Assuming that Buddy has stolen his idea of proposing to her at a game, he races to the stadium, runs out onto the field. Security captures him and begins to remove him from the stadium but Mayor Rudy Giuliani orders them to allow Dave to speak. After admitting that he does have an anger problem and is willing to change, Dave proposes to Linda, who agrees on one condition: she wants him to prove his love by kissing her in front of everyone. Overcoming his fear, he proceeds to do so and receives the news that he has graduated from anger management. Linda then explains how she first approached Buddy after reading his book and that everything that has happened was a setup for Dave's therapy; the judge, the female flight attendant and the man who stole his seat were all friends of Buddy's and were part of the setup (except the air marshal, who was just having a bad day).
Dave, Linda, Buddy and the other therapy group members are celebrating Dave's graduation in Central Park, when a man approaches and asks for Buddy. When Buddy steps forward, the man pulls a gun and points it at him. Dave confronts the man, citing what he has learned from Buddy. The situation is defused when the man squirts water in Dave's face, revealing the pistol to be a toy, and Dave stating that he's a friend of his.
To be added.
- Adam Sandler's character Dave wears a West High School T-Shirt, West High School is a school in Manchester, New Hampshire. West is the arch-rival to Central High School in Manchester, New Hampshire which Adam Sandler attended.
- "Meatball" the cat that models the cat clothing is also the name of Adam Sandler's deceased dog.