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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 11/12/99

Big Daddy
1999 (1999) Columbia TriStar

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Big Daddy Film Ratings: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/B-

Specs and Features

93 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, 2 theatrical trailers (plus 3 trailers for Dick, Go and Ghostbusters), documentary HBO First Look: Making Of Big Daddy, music videos for Sweet Child o' Mine by Sheryl Crow and When I Grow Up by Garbage, cast and crew bios, animated film-themed menu screens with sound effects, scene access (28 chapters), language: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0), subtitles: English, Close Captioned

You know you're in for something special, when the menu screen on a DVD is preceded by the sound of someone urinating. Big Daddy is yet another entry in the seemingly endless stream of brain-dead comedies from master thespian Adam Sandler. I personally like Mr. Sandler's work (most of it anyway), and find most of his critics to be bandwagon jumping fools who just don't get it. You see, Sandler isn't trying to make message films, even if you sometimes find a message in them. Sandler is simply entertaining those of us who want to laugh a little.

This time around, Sandler is Sonny Koufax, a ne'er do well at that point in life were most people grab hold of life and start staking out a piece of the pie. But Sonny is happy doing nothing with his life. He's living off the earnings of a lawsuit he won, involving an auto driving over his foot. About the only problems in his life are his girlfriend, who wants him to start growing up, and his roommate's girlfriend (a doctor, and former Hooter's girl). But those problems pretty much end, when his girlfriend takes off for an extended weekend and comes back attached to a man three times her age, and his roommate (played straight by Jon Stewart) proposes to his girlfriend and moves out. Into this picture walks a 5-year-old boy, who gives Sonny the bright idea of becoming a father to prove to his girlfriend that he's responsible.

Most of the comedy here comes from the fact that Sonny treats the child like a puppy who talks (covering up his messes with newspapers, for example). Sonny also gives the boy free reign with his hygiene and clothing. You see, Sonny's father made him do stuff he didn't want to do when he was young, so now he's going to let the boy do whatever, whenever he wants. This back-fires of course, and therein lies additional humor. Overall, Big Daddy is pretty funny - not guffaw-inducing, but a few chuckles abound. Sandler pretty much plays Gilmore all over again, and come to think of it, it might have been funnier if it was rewritten to be a Gilmore sequel. As it stands, if you like Sandler, you'll like Big Daddy. If you hate him, well... let's just say that this film won't change your perception.

The DVD for Big Daddy is a prototypical Columbia TriStar disc. It's got great picture quality (in both 16x9 enhanced widescreen and full frame, with great color and contrast, and strong, detailed blacks). The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is also deep and full. As for extras, you get a stack of trailers: two for Big Daddy, one for Go, one for Dick and a full-blown ad for Ghostbusters on DVD and video. There are also a couple of music videos from the film's soundtrack (by Garbage and Sheryl Crow). Rounding it all out is an HBO First Look, with Sandler and the cast at Hooters, discussing the film and showing clips. That's a lot for a movie-only edition. I'm still waiting for a commentary track on a Sandler film, although I can't imagine him talking much judging by his television interviews, or that VJ gig he did for MTV recently.

As it is, Big Daddy is a fine DVD, and more than you would expect the film deserves. For the fans, it's definitely a must-have. And for everyone else, just lighten up and rent it. If you don't over-think this one too much, you might even laugh a couple of times.

Todd Doogan
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