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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Big Daddy (1999)



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Big Daddy is the movie equivalent of a train wreck where the conductor genuinely thought it would be a good idea to jump the tracks on purpose. Adam Sandler's usual screen personality is unlikeable enough -- he flips between smarmy and cruel at a moment's notice -- but here we're supposed to root for him to win custody of a child. Sure. As if it weren't obvious that Sandler would make a horrible father, the movie spells out the details: among other things, he teaches the kid to trip senior citizens on ice skates and expounds on the virtues of drugs to children in a playground.

Why is any of this funny? I don't object to humor with an edge, but Big Daddy forgets the humor and dwells on the edge. Instead of laughing at audacious humor, we are supposed to laugh at audaciousness. This is grade school stuff, no different than laughing at one kid in the class who misbehaves when the rest would never dare to. Har har har.