TBT: Big Daddy (1999)


May is moving on with or without me, and now that I’ve committed to doing Adam Sandler movies this month, I kind of can’t wait for it to be over so I don’t have to be responsible for these posts anymore. I already know several people who question me. I want to make it up to them. I can maybe make them some real shortbread pie or something, and maybe send it to them? Eric, how expensive was shipping and handling on your Shitfest trophies??? Anyway, yes, indeed the month and the theme continues onward, to my third favorite of his old little shitty-ography.  

Today’s food for thought: Big Daddy


Release: June 25, 1999


Big Daddy marks the third of a triumvirate of decent Sandler comedies from the mid-to-late ’90s that, while earning a certain reputation through the collective opinion of mainstream critics, managed to garner a significant fanbase for Sandler. This film is the last one he would do before starting up his own production company, Happy Madison Productions. Yes, that ever-reliable entity we can all thank for churning out garbage on a very frequent basis starring Adam Sandler and friends hogging a camera in a backyard for 90 minutes at a time.

This film is — surprise, surprise — not a far cry from its scatological cousins, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison (not to mention a smattering of other, lesser offensive outings later on down the pike) who enjoyed making fun of the elderly, the homeless, the funny-looking. . .and women. The whole goal of being in an Adam Sandler movie was that you can act like a dick and get paid. This is my underlying theory of how they are able to keep cranking out true stinkers one after another in today’s market, anyway. It makes a lot of sense. Movies can be made quickly and cheaply when there is a 10-page script, most of the pages of which contain 80% choice language and made-up words.

The Big Daddy iteration of Sandler’s shtick concerns a 32-year-old unmotivated tollbooth operator finding himself in a limbo between growing up and facing being alone because of his stubborn ways. All around him his friends are getting ahead in life by proposing to long-time girlfriends and getting relocated to China for positions in law firms. Sonny himself has a law degree but hasn’t found the will to study and pass the bar exam and get his act fully together. However, an opportunity to do so presents itself when young Julian (played by twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse) appears on his trodden doorstep.

While Sonny’s initially reluctant to take on any more responsibility than the current crap-ton that he has, he finds himself becoming close with Julian and even enjoys acting like a role model for the kid, even if at times he’s a questionable one. Unfortunately it is later discovered by a Social Services worker that Julian was meant to be in the care of his biological father, Sonny’s roommate and friend and that Sonny’s extensive caretaking has been a complete circumvention of the law. He faces kidnapping and fraud charges.

I’m sure there are a few life lessons to be found somewhere in this comedy, let’s see what we can find, shall we:

  1. bigd25

    You should learn to smile more, for you have Jon Stewart for a father. Granted, there was that little issue of him jetting off to China for years to become a successful lawyer while never knowing you existed, but these things happen. You must learn that not even Jon Stewart is perfect.

  2. fhd999BDD_Kristy_Swanson_009

    Life is all about experience. I’ll just leave it at that.

  3. ijYwM2_large

    “The Birds and the Bees” discussion can never be held too early. Of course, this conversation can go into greater detail if put off until later. Then again, if you put this off til too much later, . . ah crap. That’s a real catch-22.

  4. fhd999BDD_Rob_Schneider_005

    Life requires you be patient. Not everything will fall completely into place at first. But you might find things coming together a bit quicker if you upgrade your vocabulary beyond that of a fifth grader. Don’t worry, though. No one in the real world actually judges you if you can’t spell ‘hippopotamus.’

  5. bigdaddy27

    Birthday parties are life’s little way of showing you a progress bar on the side of your Life Screen. Where you hold your parties, who hosts them for you and who attends them says a lot about who, what and where you are in your own life. Go on, enjoy it. Even if it’s at a strip joint. Or excuse me, a Hooters.

3-0Recommendation: Big Daddy is  . . .well, it’s Big Daddy. It’s neither the finest of Sandler’s offerings (a relative term for many people, this I do understand) but it’s far removed from the worst of his current drivel. Sandwiched comfortably among Sandler’s more memorable outings, this story benefits greatly from strong chemistry between it’s foul-mouthed lead and a pair of charming little twins who this reviewer still cannot tell apart. It falls into the same grooves as all Sandler’s creations do but manages to remain an enjoyable and surprisingly heartwarming raunch-fest that naturally belongs in the discussion of the man’s better contributions to the comedy of the 90s.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 89 mins.

Quoted: “Fish! Pony! Hip, hip hop, hip hop anonymous? Damn you! You gave him the easy ones.”

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Photo credits: google images

12 thoughts on “TBT: Big Daddy (1999)

  1. Haven’t seen this one is ages! I’ll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for it. I distinctly remember that last quote–“hip hop anonymous”–cracking a friend of mine up. Rob Schneider sure does gets very random roles, doesn’t he? Ah well. Great review!


    • Indeed I do. I believe I remember seeing it atop a list you created a while back of the most inspiring films released in cinema history! 😉


    • It’s one of his better outings that is for certain Alex. I was a fan of his back in these particular movies. Though I’ll also concede that these films from the 90s aren’t that different from what he’s doing now. One difference is his age; his rambunctiousness as a younger actor was what made him more watchable. Now he’s just lazy and doesn’t care about his career. And that’s pretty annoying. I try not to pay attention to him these days. 🙂


  2. Nice review man. This is the last Sandler flick that I remember really bothering to check out and actually liking. Thought it was pretty good way back in the day. In my mind at least, it was all downhill after this.


    • That’s in my mind as well, man. Big Daddy really marked a departure for Sandler. The upstart of Happy Madison productions really screwed him. Ironic, when it took the names of two his top comedies (excluding Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, of course). This one is a pretty worthwhile one in my book and I enjoy revisiting it for sure


    • That’s pretty sweet man! And a great memory to associate with this film. I like being able to remember films that way. I never got to see this in theaters but I bet that was a laugh-riot. Things always seem more crazy and hysterical in public places, and with this being funny every time I still watch it, that makes me really envious you got the opportunity! 😀


  3. You know….I still remember watching this film at AMC with my mother. I was a kid at that time and this film will forever have that, “I loved it as a child”, effect on me. I worked as a Loss Prevention officer last year for a store (GAP) that would always play movies in the back at one of the locations. This one would play every few weeks and I did mind spending my hour break re-connecting with it!


  4. Haven’t seen this in forever, but I know that it’s good. A lot better than anything Sandler has put out in the past decade or so. Good review Tom.


    • Damn right man. Pretty much after this it was all downhill for Sandler. I might like one or two things since, but for the most part this marked the end.


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