CD REVIEW: Various Artists – Music from the Motion picture Mr. Deeds

A memorable film soundtrack, whether it’s an orchestral score or a collection of popular music, is a document that successfully holds up as an entertaining body of work, on its own, detached from the motion picture for which it was created.

The same recipe applies for a memory-adhesive soundtrack as does a satisfying film. Each song (or scene) is united by a common theme. In the case of a soundtrack, this common theme can be achieved through musical instrumentation, sonic thrust (the style in which the instruments are played), lyrical content, genre or time period in which the recordings were made. Often, a noteworthy soundtrack incorporates several of the above mentioned elements.

However, the soundtrack to the latest Adam Sandler vehicle, a shallow retread of the Frank Capra classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, simply titled, Mr. Deeds, is completely void of a unifying theme. The songs are strung together haphazardly, as if randomly downloaded from Sandler’s personal computer.

Adding to the uselessness of the disc, it does not contain one tune that is not already available on another album. That is, unless you count remixes courtesy of Lit (“Happy In the Meantime”) and Natalie Imbruglia (“Wrong Impression”) that sound less dissimilar to the originals than the beat variation between “Under Pressure” and “Ice Ice Baby.”

The Mr. Deeds soundtrack is a slipshod mix of contemporary radio favorites by acts of merit like Weezer, Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows; nascent stars Ben Kweller; and here-today, gone-tomorrow, rap-rockers Trik Turner.

Adding to the stew, there’s U2’s played-out sap-fest “Sweetest Thing” and a pair of tired oldies – Yes’ “I’ve Seen All Good People” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Both of the older tracks can be heard at least once an hour on classic rock stations from Brandon to Budokan.

Pete Townshend’s infectious 1980s single “Let My Love Open the Door” makes for good soundtrack fodder because it is by far the most accessible track from The Who’s chief songwriter and guitarist’s spotty solo career. However, one would be better served by picking up the thoroughly chosen Grosse Point Blank soundtrack where the tune is along side other big beat classics from the previous three decades.

So, barring the possibility that something really, er, special occurred while you were viewing the film and you need more than your ticket stub or lipstick-stained boxer shorts as a memento, leave this disc on the shelf.