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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - Edition No 911 
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BIG DADDY

SYNOPSIS:
Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is a qualified lawyer who hasn’t found any direction in his life. He sleeps all day, orders take-out food incessantly and is generally goofing off. His girlfriend Vanessa (Kristy Swanson) challenges him to do something with his life; and the opportunity to do that arrives in the form of Julian (Cole & Dylan Sprouse), apparently the son of his room mate Kevin (Jon Stewart). With Kevin in China on business, Sonny takes on Julian as his substitute father, but his new responsibilities don’t seem to change his slacker ways. Then he meets Layla (Joey Lauren Adams), the sister of Kevin’s fiancee.

"Sometimes you look at the poster for a movie (in this case Adam Sandler and a young boy urinating against a wall) and know for a fact that there's no way you're going to enjoy one second of the film. And sometimes you can be wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Sure it's Hollywood cliché, but Hollywood cliché relies on its stars to make it work and Sandler does a great job in this one. He is genuinely likeable and seriously funny. It is extremely politically incorrect, making fun of gays, old people, fat people, well endowed women, African Americans, and the intellectually disabled. Having noted that, it has to be said that it is really quite clever in its political incorrectness. Sonny (Sandler) accepts his gay friends and basically gets as good as he gives with all the others, particularly in the case of the doctor who used to work at Hooters (Leslie Mann) who provides some of the best exchanges with Sonny that the film has to offer. The movie is people with quirky characters, some of the best performances being provided by Joey Lauren Adams as the new girlfriend, Rob Schneider as the delivery man, and Chloe Hult in a gem of a cameo as the schoolteacher. The boy, Julian, is played by twins which may help to explain the alternate sickly/cute moments we have to cope with. Ultimately though, it's Sandler's film and, if you like him, you'll have a fun time."
Lee Gough

"According to Adam Sandler in this movie, ‘most critics are cynical assholes.’ Maybe so, but then Adam Sandler is possibly the laziest star in Hollywood, with minimal comic range or energy: from one film to the next, it’s the same tedious baby-talk routine, the same sheepish self-pity and smugly regressive humour. Given this infantile persona, it seems logical to team Sandler with a child – but the result, aimed at a family audience, suffers from a weird kind of doublethink. When Sonny becomes a temporary dad, the basic joke is how irresponsible he is, teaching the kid to pee on walls, knock down rollerbladers, and generally treat others with contempt. Yet all along we’re somehow meant to see him as caring and decent at heart. On the one hand, Big Daddy is filled with heartwarming emotions and tolerant, generous sentiments; on the other, it celebrates antisocial behavior and allows its ‘charming’ hero to act like an obnoxious shit. He’s also meant to be a gifted law graduate, which sits oddly with Sandler’s reputation as a ‘dumb’ comic for the masses. Actually, this is a film made by and about middle-class college boys, and the script is more than happy to jeer at anyone – women, immigrants, the homeless – who doesn’t belong to the club. The complacency underpinning Sonny’s wacky slackerdom fits perfectly, in the end, with the script’s conformist message: grow up, straighten out, be a lawyer with your buddies. Cynical? Asshole? You be the judge."
Jake Wilson

"Just what people see in the monumentally unfunny Adam Sandler is frankly beyond me. This contrived and ultimately pointless exercise is nothing more than a vehicle for Sandler’s annoying mannerisms and sophomore humour. If you don’t find continual jokes of a scatological nature your cup of tea, stay away from this film. Perhaps I wouldn’t have such a problem with Big Daddy if the script had any sense of purpose; but it meanders from one meaningless situation to another, and the outcome of the story is never in doubt. Character development, dialogue, and scene construction are all sacrificed on the Sandler altar. Often in these types of films, the child character is the saving grace - not here. Julian is, for the most part, an annoying little brat. But then look at his role model. If anyone - I mean ANYONE - treated a child like Sonny does in this film, they'd be in jail (or at least they should be). Analysing Sandler’s performance is pointless; as his fans will flock to Big Daddy regardless (or perhaps because) of any reasoned criticism. Joey Lauren Adams and Jon Stewart try hard in their roles, but they don’t have much to work with. The highlight is Steve Buscemi in a cameo as a wino. I could go on at length about the faults of Big Daddy, but to do so would only dignify the whole crass thing - and annoy me at the same time. One of my early favourites for worst film of the year."
David Edwards



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CRITICAL COUNT|
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

BIG DADDY (PG)
(US)

CAST: Adam Sandler, Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, Joey Lauren Adams, Rob
Schneider, Leslie Mann, Steve Buscemi, Jon Stewart, Kristy Swanson

DIRECTOR: Dennis Dugan

PRODUCER: Sidney Ganis, Jack Giarraputo

SCRIPT: Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Theo Van de Sande

EDITOR: Jeff Gourson

MUSIC: Teddy Castellucci

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Perry Andelin Blake

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 16, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: March 15, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Video







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