Cast & Crew
Comedy (US); 1999; Rated PG-13; 95 Minutes
Adam Sandler: Sonny Koufax
Cole & Dylan Sprouse: Julian
Joey Lauren Adams: Layla
Jon Stewart: Kevin Gerrity
Steve Buscemi: Homeless Man
Produced by Sid Ganis
and Jack Giarraputo; Directed by Dennis Dugan; Screenwritten
by Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler
by DAVID KEYES
sitting in a park, closely watching a boy and his son. You
see no family resemblance, yet you find it hard to believe
that they aren't father & son. Then the young boy throws
a large stick into the path of a moving roller-blader. He
and his father laugh. You suspect his father would be more
serious when it comes to cruel practical jokes, then you
realize that his father is actually Adam Sandler. Quick:
who would you rather punish?
do I ask this question? Because Sandler is the kind of actor
whose roles resemble one another: they are adolescent, childish
creeps who remain detached from responsibility just as much
as they do from normal brain function. Much like the people
of "The Waterboy" and "Happy Gilmore," his character in
"Big Daddy" is every parent's worst nightmare: the man that,
if your kids were under his care, would probably teach them
how to loot liquor stores, smoke dope, pee in back alleys
and sneak into "R" rated movies. And those are only his
lessons for kids under the age of 10.
movie has a heart, yes, but not a very big one. Sandler
plays Sonny Koufax, a selfish unethical loser who has just
won $200,000 in a settlement involving his foot and the
wheel of a Taxi cab. He lives in a large apartment with
his roommate Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart), which is in turn
often occupied by Kevin's nagging girlfriend Vanessa. It
isn't until Kevin is out of town when we learn that he has
a love child named Julian. One day, he winds up on his father's
doorstep, only to fall into the hands of Sonny, who in turn
takes him to the park so he can throw sticks in front of
roller-bladers, and dangle spit from his mouth and suck
it back in without it ever touching the ground.
what happens when Sonny tries to turn Julian over to social
services? Oh, they're on holiday leave, of course. This
gives Mr. Koufax the opportunity to care for the little
tike like a father, since, after all, his real daddy won't
be back for months. Alas, if only the services knew that
this lazy bum was taking care of such an innocent kid when
they turned him away....
the script becomes all generic, giving us the obvious bonding
situations between Sonny and Julian. We're supposed to believe
that, even though Sonny is mean-spirited and filled with
lunacy, he would make a good father to this little kid.
At this point, we're asked the determining question: should
Sandler pretend to be the child's dad when social services
arrive up on his door, or should he do the right think and
let the boy go free? Of course you know the answer.
movie has many faults and miscalculations, but it is also
not without high points. The filmmakers have assembled a
nice ensemble cast consisting of Joey Lauren Adams, Leslie
Mann and Steve Buscemi, whereas they play characters who
are significantly opposite from the creepy Sonny. Sometimes
all a bad movie need is characters to bring lucidity into
the vile plot. Unlike Sandler's previous efforts, there's
charm and wisdom found in much of the supporting cast. Even
the two little twins who play Julian come off effective,
even though they take after their surrogate guardian a little
Sandler has not yet proven he is worthy of screen time.
If only he was offered a serious, more intellectual role,
rather than all of these ludicrous dorks with the morals
of fungus and the intelligence of vapor rub. He is at that
part of his career when he has earned the appreciation of
some audiences (although I'm not part of them), and must
further his career by taking different approaches for his
characters. Like Jim Carrey and Will Smith, his whole appeal
is solely based on box office figures, rather than sophisticated
roles that give him reason to be an actor. Will that change?
I hope so. If Jim Carrey can do "The Truman Show," whose
to say Adam Sandler cannot find something just as respectable?
it comes to parenting, "Bid Daddy" is that example of what
not to do when raising a kid. It would be good for parents
to see, just so they know what could happen if they take
the wrong steps. One request, though: leave the kids home,
unless you want them to have those warped, disturbing qualities
right from the beginning.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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