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Reviews for the week of June 28, 1999.

Monday:
The General's Daughter

The General's Daughter
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John Travolta has a certain way of delivering lines that makes him charming in just about any role. In The General's Daughter, he portrays Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, an undercover government officer who investigates army-related crimes.

Poor Paul gets teamed up with an old girlfriend, Warrant Officer Sara Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe) on a big case: the murder and apparent rape of Captain Elizabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), General Campbell's daughter. Asked to hurry up and solve the murder before the FBI can get involved, Paul and Sara delve into Captain Campbell's past. They discover that Campbell had slept with nearly every man on the base, including her boss, who is the number one murder suspect - at first. Later, they uncover some even more disturbing news about her past.

Having read the book, which was recently re-released with an introduction by the author, I was shocked to learn that Bruce Willis had been considered for Travolta's role. It's not that I don't like Willis - I just truly enjoyed Travolta as Paul Brenner.

Although The General's Daughter was fast paced and held my attention (even though I'd read the book and knew what happened), I couldn't help but notice one thing. It seems as if Paul and Sara might be falling for each other again, in spite of their past history, but this romance is left rather unresolved. (In the book, all the loose ends were tied up.)

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Big Daddy

Big Daddy
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Big Daddy was a better movie than I expected it to be.

Adam Sandler, usually annoying, proved at least slightly less so in his role as Sonny Koufax, a lazy bum who does nothing all day. His girlfriend Vannessa (Kristy Swanson) informs him that he isn't ready to move to the "next level" in their relationship - or in his life. She wants time to "think things over". While she's away, Sonny learns that his friend Arthur (Josh Mostel) has a five- year- old son (Cole and Dylan Sprouse). Arthur hadn't previously known about the kid, and doesn't really want anything to do with him, so Sonny gets an idea: he'll keep the kid to impress Vanessa with his maturity and responsibility.

Big mistake. Turns out she's sleeping with a much older man and doesn't want anything to do with Sonny, kid or no kid. And Sonny isn't exactly the model parent. For example, his theory on house cleaning goes something like this: put newspapers over any mess and forget about it. That's just what he does - he covers up urine, barf, spilled cereal, you name it, in this manner. And he lets the kid do whatever he wants - wear idiotic clothes, play video games all day - all the things Sonny himself enjoys.

I have to admit some scenes were funny - although the heavy emphasis on bathroom humor and stupidity was a bit overdone. Unfortunately, the few serious parts were the sappy, gag-me kind (i.e., Sonny explains what it means to be a good father in an overly emotional courtroom dialogue). Still, Big Daddy wasn't irritating - at least not in comparison to some of Sandler's other films, such as Billy Madison. Overall, it was even entertaining.

My Rating = Two Stars

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