Starring: Adam Sandler, Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse
Director: Dennis Dugan
Running Time: 93 mins
Big Daddy is an American film about a juvenile and lazy man who takes a young boy into his care, intending to look after him to impress his girlfriend, but ultimately developing a strong bond with the child.
I know I should be objective about these things, but I can’t help going into a movie starring Adam Sandler without a real sense of trepidation, and while the late 90s isn’t his weakest period, Big Daddy at first seems like the sort of movie that’s been so damaging to Sandler’s reputation over the years.
However, if you stick with it through the rather underwhelming and annoying opening fifteen minutes, Big Daddy is actually a very enjoyable watch right to the finish, with genuinely likable characters, entertaining comedy, and a story that isn’t anywhere near as predictable as you may expect, as well as far more touching than a typical Hollywood comedy.
Let’s start off with the characters, which are arguably what makes this movie so surprisingly endearing throughout. Adam Sandler’s performance is far more grounded and likable than on most occasions, and although he plays a juvenile and lazy adult man, his character develops well over the course of the movie, proving to be a genuinely caring person while retaining the fun charisma of a good Adam Sandler performance.
Not only is Sandler thoroughly likable, because a number of the supporting cast are also real stand-outs, with Cole and Dylan Sprouse, who both play the young boy that Sandler takes under his wing, never proving grating or annoying, while other supporting players such as Joey Lauren Adams and even Rob Schneider adding some genuine fun and likability to the movie, which I was really glad to see.
Moving on, one of the other real surprises about the movie is its story. Although it follows a fairly predictable and cheesy path for the majority of the duration, often strangely not too dissimilar to Stuart Little, the likability of the characters make it a genuinely enjoyable watch, and the development of the father and son-like bond at the centre of the story adds a surprisingly touching element to the film.
The biggest surprise of all comes in the film’s final act, just as you think it’s continuing on a pleasant but predictable path right to the finish, it comes out with a genuinely touching and unexpected finale that proves a completely satisfying end to the whole story arc, something that hugely impressed me.
Finally, when it comes to the comedy, I’m not going to say that Big Daddy is an endlessly hilarious watch, because a good proportion of its jokes do in fact fall flat. However, thanks to the fully likable vibe throughout, as well as the odd moment of properly funny humour, the film proves a thoroughly entertaining watch regardless.
Overall, Big Daddy is a delightful watch. A calm and collected Adam Sandler movie that features decent humour and likable characters, as well as a surprising and genuinely touching story throughout, all of which make for a thoroughly enjoyable watch, which is why I’m giving it a 7.5.