This is the first time I’ve watched Big Daddy in its entirety. I usually come in about about a half hour from the end and have only a faint clue what is happening. Literally the only thing about this movie I knew for sure was that Adam Sandler had somehow become responsible for a small child who can wipe his own ass. I mean, that’s a great quality in a kid, but I had no idea why this is so important to the plot.
This movie tries too hard to marry crude humor and sappy sentimentality. Sandler plays Sonny Koufax, a 30 year old slacker with no ambition whose girlfriend dumps him because he lacks maturity. When his best friend’s illegitimate son is dropped off at his apartment unexpectedly, Sonny decides to keep the kid to show his girlfriend how serious he can be. The majority of the film consists of Sonny providing the worst example possible for the five year old boy, including peeing in public, tripping rollerbladers, and covering vomit with newspaper rather than cleaning it up. Then it abruptly switches gears and shows Sonny trying his best to be a good father after he is confronted by the kid’s teacher.
It seems like such a cute premise, but Big Daddy just never delivers. It’s funny, but far from Sandler’s best. Sonny just seems like a jerk, and I never quite believe that he would actually care about this kid as much as he does. It seems much more likely that he would have just pawned him off on his friend’s girlfriend at the start.
This is one of Adam Sandler’s better films. After his top comedies like The Wedding Singer or Happy Gilmore, this comedy about an unmotivated schlub who adopts a young boy in order to win back his girlfriend is pretty cute. Sandler plays Sonny Koufax, a lazy dud who works one day a week at a Brooklyn toll booth and spends the rest of his time goofing off with his friends. He and his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) have a fight about Sonny’s lack of direction in life. When a child, Julian (Dylan and Cole Sprouse), is dropped off at his apartment, he keeps the boy to show his girlfriend he can be responsible. The child is his roommate’s (Jon Stewart in a rare film role) who was not aware the child even existed, so Sonny keeps him rather than take him to child services as he should.
This film is really funny, mostly because of the chemistry between Sandler and the two twins playing Julian. The twins grow up to be in one of the better Disney channel shows, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, so it’s interesting to see that even at such a young age they still had really good comedic timing. It shows that it’s something some are just born with, good comedians are generally just born with it.
The supporting cast is solid. Leslie Mann plays Jon Stewart’s fiancée who hates Sonny. She would become Mrs Judd Apatow eventually and is really funny in this film. Watching her berate Sandler is one of the films highlights. He gives her a hard time for being a Hooters waitress during her college years, which is also very amusing. Rob Schneider also has a minor role as a foreign delivery man. His interactions with Julian are quite funny. When Sandler teaches them both to read it is really funny.
Look, this film is not going to win any Oscars, but it is an entertaining way to spend 90 minutes. Sandler has the charisma to hold your attention for this film and there is a really good message about how important fathers are in your life. I really enjoyed that right at the end of the credits, there is a message thanking all the fathers out there. It is a nice touch for this cute film.