Movie Magazine International

Big Daddy

USA - 1999

Movie Review By Heather Clisby

In the new Adam Sandler movie, "Big Daddy", we meet Sonny Koufax, a Syracuse law school graduate with no intentions of becoming a functioning adult. No way, not him. He's going continue his childhood where it left off.

His friends, his girlfriend and, especially, his father, all chide Sonny for being a do-nothing lay-about who spends his days watching cartoons, eating cereal and laying traps for unsuspecting rollerbladers in Central Park.

One day, his girlfriend dumps him and an adorable 5-year-old boy named Julian shows up on his doorstep. Though the kid actually belongs to Sonny's successful roommate currently doing business in China, the man-child claims the shorter one as his own to win back his woman, as in: "See, look: I am responsible."

Along the way, we see the wacky parenting techniques that Sonny applies. For example, if a business owner upsets you, piss on his building. Wear what you want. Change your name. Eat whatever you like. Don't do anything you don't want to. Is another person in pain? That's very amusing. Now this is all supposed to be high comedy but I cringed through most of it.

This is not the fault of Sandler, who remains true to his immature character (not exactly a stretch.) The subject matter is troubling, however, and the script is so Hollywood formula (all bad made good at end, everybody happy and all loose ends are tied! So tidy!) along with the usual emotional cues the size of Texas. Don't want us thinking for ourselves, else we might notice that THIS MOVIE STINKS!

Now, nobody is more annoyed with the over-sensitive, PC-infestation of the '90s more than I am but there were too many parts of this schlock that pushed the envelope without bothering to ask why. In one scene, Julian wets his bed. Sonny is not only annoyed with having his sleep disturbed but his solution is to lay down newspapers and make the child return to the soiled bed. When Julian has to go again later, Sonny responds, "What? You didn't go enough in the bed?"

Mind you, I'm not an abuse survivor nor do I have children of my own but I found this stuff not only troubling but, even worse, not funny. I can see where they wanted to go but laziness set in and the result is a half-assed idea begging for re-writes.

There is also some blatant sponsorship going on from the busty grub joint, Hooters. It is mentioned in nearly every other scene and just guess where the story concludes? If boob jokes and child neglect make you chortle, then you've got some sad company. After you've enjoyed the film, immediately find a faraway island and please go live there.

© 1999 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 6/23/99

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