Big Daddy Movie Review

Adam Sandler has gone soft and it just doesn't work. Whilehe somehow managed to carry off his sweet, pathetic romantic lead characterin "The Wedding Singer" last year, in "BigDaddy" he's taken it too far. The formerly outrageous Sandler hasbecome the Sensitive Guy.

He's polite and politically correct toward two of his collegebuddies who turned gay and became a couple. He's accompanied everywherehe goes by a tender moments soundtrack copped from a General Foods InternationalCoffees commercial. And get this -- he cries. Not for laughs, either.He cries and wants the audience to commiserate with his broken little heart.He wants us to like him.

Buddy, you're Adam Sandler, not Jimmy Stewart. Heck, you'renot even Robin Williams, and he's no good at that sad clown crap, either.

In "Big Daddy," Sandler plays a law school dropoutwho adopts a kid left on his doorstep in order to win back his responsible,focused and future-minded girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) with a demonstrationof his nesting instincts.

In the process he falls in love with the kid, a pug-nosedorphan with an adorable-by-design speech impediment, and uses him to meeta better babe (Joey Laruen Adams), a giggly, girly lawyer with a squeak-toyvoice who in the end will accept him for the lazy, do-nothing, couch potatothat he is -- which will, in turn, inspire him to take the bar and growup.

Sure he's still mean to the girl's sister (Leslie Mann),teasing her about working her way through medical school as a Hooters waitress.Sure for amusement he teaches the kid to trip roller bladers in CentralPark and how to hock and suck a killer lugie.

But "Big Daddy" is meticulously calculated tobe Sandler's graduation vehicle. In it, he's the comically irresponsiblefather figure who keeps accidentally doing the right thing as the sappyincidental music swells. It's a blatant play for likability, respectableroles and the chick flick demographic. And what's worse, so much energyis spent getting the sensitivity balance just right that several giganticplot holes get completely ignored.

Sandler is still playing the slovenly idiot savant. Forthe moment, that's his stock in trade. But he's lost his edge. The 1999model Sandler is the kind of proud pig who learns the Sunday School lessonand turns his life around in the last act to win the girl. I'm sorry, butthat's just not what I want from my Adam Sandler movie.


Big Daddy Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, June 25, 1999


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