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Teen Movie Critic

Jamey Hughton

June 30, 1999

Jamey Hughton is a 15 yr old student in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has written a weekly published column, MOVIE VIEWS for The StarPhoenix, the Saskatoon daily paper, since November, 1997. He was honoured to be a 1999 Writing Finalist in the Canadian YTV Achievement Awards.

He maintains a Web site MOVIE VIEWS by Jamey Hughton.

His reviews are now also found at: IMDb, MRQE and the Newsgroup.

Big Daddy

Although the picture of Adam Sandler raising a child is a frightening thought, he is acting as a father figure in his newest comedy. Big Daddy gives us an impression of what the spawn of Sandler may appear as, and the result is much sweeter than suspected.

As his newest character, Sandler plays an incomparable slob named Sonny Koufax, a law-school graduate who works one day a week at a toll booth and spends the other six on the couch. Thatís when a five-year old problem walks up to his door, in the form of a child who claims to be his roommateís long-lost son. Unfortunately, the lucky father (Jon Stewart) is on his way to China for a business trip. Sonny, for reasons unknown at the time, takes the kid into open arms.

Young Julian is played by the tag-team acting duo of Cole and Dylan Sprouse. Of course, the two lonely souls become attached to each other, and Sonny begins to raise the little demon as his own.

But Sonny insists on teaching Julian the basics of being a proper, well-mannered young lad. He shows him that any and all spills can be soaked up by a well-placed sheet of newspaper, instructs him to dent their cans of Alpha-Getti at the supermarket so that they can get the discount price, etc. But despite the fact that Sonny is offering Julian a completely misguided view on growing up, itís obvious that he cares about the kid. And Sandler, the king of naughty toilet humor, appears to be showcasing some charm here, much the way he did in The Wedding Singer. But Big Daddy has the regular quotient of pee-pee jokes and Sandler-orientated vulgarity, only toned down with sprinkles of sweetness carefully mixed into the solution.

There are three respectable leading ladies in Big Daddy. Kristy Swanson plays Sonnyís original girlfriend Vanessa, until she runs off with a man twice her age (or "Old Man River" as Sonny so eloquently puts it).

Leslie Mann plays Jon Stewartís fiancee, and Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy) is her much nicer sister who enjoys Sonnyís company.

Big Daddy has plenty of funny moments; no gargantuan laughs, but a few dozen hearty chuckles spaced evenly throughout. The finale in a courtroom is played too seriously, and the premise gets drowned in sentimental goo as it goes along, but the result is still rather charming and entertaining. Adam Sandler movies are not intended to be art. They exist to give people a good laugh, and Big Daddy manages just fine.

Itís commendable of Adam Sandler to be attempting a change of pace. But, fans of the big goof arenít going to be disappointed with Big Daddy. Perhaps Sandler isnít so much an embarrassment to Hollywood as he is a savior to the movie-going public. I feel Iím ready to finally accept the comedian for what he is.

My Rating = Three Stars


Jamey Hughton can be reached directly at movieviews@hotmail.com.
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