REVIEW: BIG DADDY


CAST

Adam Sandler (Just Go With It)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Leslie Mann (THis Is 40)
Rob Schneider (The Waterboy)
Jonathan Loughran (The King of Queens)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Peter Dante (Jack and Jill)
Joseph Bologna (The Woman In Red)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)

Immature 32-year-old bachelor slacker Sonny Koufax lives in New York City and refuses to take on adult responsibility. Despite having a law degree, he refuses to take the bar exam, works one day a week as a toll booth attendant and lives off a sizeable legal settlement from a minor accident. His girlfriend, Vanessa, threatens to break up with him unless he grows up. His roommate, Kevin Gerrity, proposes to his podiatrist girlfriend Corinne Maloney before he leaves for China for his law firm, and she accepts. Sonny constantly teases Corinne, especially about her former occupation at Hooters. The next day, Sonny wakes up to find 5-year-old Julian McGrath abandoned at their apartment. A written explanation says that Julian’s mother now refuses to care for Julian and that Kevin is his biological father. Sonny assures Kevin that he will look after Julian until Kevin returns from China. In order to win Vanessa back, Sonny introduces her to Julian. However, he discovers that she is now dating Sid, a much older man who is more motivated and intelligent and has a “5-year plan.”

Posing as Kevin, Sonny takes Julian to his social worker Arthur Brooks, telling him that Julian should return to his mother. However, Brooks informs Sonny that Julian’s mother died of cancer. Sonny then decides to raise Julian his own way. As such, the boy nicknames himself Frankenstein and also helps Sonny find a new girlfriend in Corinne’s lawyer sister Layla. Brooks finds a foster home for Julian and leaves messages for Sonny, but is suspicious when Sonny does not answer. At a meeting at Julian’s school, the teacher is shocked by the terrible habits Sonny has allowed Julian to develop, causing Sonny to rethink his parenting methods. He turns himself and Julian around, but then Brooks arrives to find out Sonny impersonated Kevin and Julian is taken away.

In court, numerous people including Corinne testify on Sonny’s behalf and tell the judge he is a suitable father. Julian also testifies, providing relevant information regarding his heritage. As a final straw, Sonny calls himself to the stand and asks his Florida lawyer father Lenny, who is present, to interrogate him. Despite Lenny’s fervent belief that Sonny is not father material, Sonny convinces Lenny that he will attempt his best at being a father. Impressed by Sonny’s sincerity, Lenny vouches for him. Nonetheless, the unconvinced judge orders Sonny’s arrest. However, Kevin confesses to being Julian’s biological father and insists they drop the charges. Sonny remains friends with Julian and hands him off to Kevin, watching them bond.

One year later, Sonny has turned his life around: he is now a successful lawyer, is married to Layla, and they have a child of their own. At Sonny’s surprise birthday party at a Hooters restaurant attended by Kevin, Corinne, Julian and others, Sonny sees Vanessa working as a waitress, with Sid working as a cook, revealing his “five-year-plan” has gone awry.

Overall, Big Daddy is a movie that, if it had taken more audacious pathways, might have been a firstrate comedy. As it is, it provides numerous chuckles and a cuddly warm feeling – and that, given the state of much of big screen comedy these days, is about all we dare allow ourselves to expect.

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