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If one of Adam Sandler's characters lived down your street, you'd likely have called the police a few times to charge him with public mischief, instructed your children to not go near him, and if he were a father -- as he attempts to be in this epic -- you would probably have the number for the local child welfare authorities memorized. Yet, when we put this dysfunctional character on a movie screen, people will pay a fortune to see him -- as evidenced by the $40 million (and still growing) success of Big Daddy.
Sandler's latest jerk-of-all-trades is named Sonny. This law school graduate has won a $200,000 wrongful injury settlement, and now chooses to do nothing except work one day a week at a tollbooth. But when Julian (Cole & Dylan Sprouse), a five-year old boy, is dropped off at his apartment (it turns out to be his roommate's illegitimate son) a series of incidents leaves Sonny responsible for the child until the next morning. Now he can teach Julian the best of anti-social behavior and scatological humor, and audiences everywhere (including the children in the theater where I screened this) are along for the ride.
The previews featuring Sandler and the boy urinating against a wall are an accurate representation of everything this movie has to offer. Crude jokes and acts often used in revenge against those who won't do what Sonny wants, are mingled with his wide vocabulary of sexual terms, many of which are aimed at his roommate's current girlfriend, an ex-Hooters employee with the obvious anatomical attributes.
If that's not enough, imagine ending this mess with a big courtroom scene where we discover that poor Sonny, charged for lying to welfare authorities, is the result of an over dominant father. But, as movies always do, the over-dramatized scene is easily concluded, and Sonny comes out free and clear. But wait! There's one more priceless moment where, two years later, the whole happy gang comes together for a big party with their children at America's family-fun (?!) restaurant - Hooters!
Big Daddy is rated PG-13: for language and some crude humor
Cast: Adam Sandler, John Stewart
Studio: (pictures (c) 1999 Columbia TriStar)