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Thirty-two-year-old Sonny Koufax has spent his whole life avoiding responsibility. But when his girlfriend dumps him for an older man, he's got to find a way to prove he's ready to grow up. In a desperate last-ditch effort, Sonny adopts five-year-old Julian to impress her. She's not impressed... and he can't return the kid.
For more about Big Daddy and the Big Daddy Blu-ray release, see Big Daddy Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 11, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Stewart, Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, Allen Covert
Director: Dennis Dugan
» See full cast & crew
Big Daddy Blu-ray Review
Yoohoo! Big Daddy's on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 11, 2010
You still act like you're six.
If there's an actor who seems like he's just a big kid who never grew up -- or at least acts that way for the camera -- it's Adam Sandler. The box office-busting comedian has entertained audiences in a number of fun but juvenile films over the years, hitting golf balls, clicking remotes, singing at weddings, and playing football, even going so far as to portray an adult who can't let the kid inside of him go in his most recent picture, Grown Ups. It would seem that Sandler's resumé just wouldn't be complete, then, without a movie featuring a guy who's basically a kid at heart who's suddenly forced to care for a real kid, and that's the premise of the actor's 1999 Comedy hit Big Daddy. Director Dennis Dugan's (You Don't Mess with the Zohan) fun and sweet but formulaic picture hits all the expected notes -- from side-splitting laughs to heart-wrenching drama -- but does so with equal parts honesty and predictability. Big Daddy's not going to win any style points or earn any credit for originality, but the picture squeaks on by thanks to a good pairing of lead actors and a steadily funny script that churns out just the right amount of heart at film's end.
Sonny Kaufax (Sandler) leads a carefree life while enjoying the early years of adulthood. He currently works one day per week as a tollbooth operator, while during the other six days he lives off the $200,000 a jury awarded him for injuries sustained in a run-in with a taxicab. His girlfriend Vanessa (Kristy Swanson) has tired of Sonny's lazy ways, putting their relationship in jeopardy. When a five-year-old boy named Julian (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) shows up at Sonny's door -- he's the long-lost son of Sonny's roommate, a successful businessman named Kevin Garity (Jon Stewart), who has left that very day for an extended business trip to China -- his life changes forever. When he finds Social Services closed for Columbus Day, Sonny has no choice but to care for the boy, at least short term. At first, Sonny doesn't think he can handle playing the part of daddy to a needy child, but as the time they spend together increases, so too does their bond of friendship and, soon, their love for one another.
Big Daddy is general Comedy that breaks no new ground but treads old water admirably enough. There are no real surprises here, except, perhaps, for the genuine chemistry that builds between Sandler and his young co-stars, Cole and Dylan Sprouse, twins who take turns portraying Sandler's makeshift son. The trio -- who show up as only two characters in the film -- will warm hearts as the picture's lifeblood. Director Dennis Dugan ensures that nothing else really matters except for the father-son relationship, with the secondary and tertiary characters and all of the humor and, eventually, drama, revolving around the patchwork family of two. Sandler delivers a fine performance that's toned down just enough from his usual antics to ensure a place for the film's extra-large heart and, just as important, make sure the audience accepts the film's entire premise, from the quick bond formed between father and son to the surprising finale that doesn't necessarily play by the rules of the typical Comedy/Drama hybrid.
The film's lead characters certainly make the movie what it is, which is critical considering that the humor is hit-or-miss and the drama is effective if not hackneyed. Big Daddy bases many of its laughs on both verbal humor -- who doesn't find it funny hearing a five-year old spouting off a few of the lesser cuss words --and good old standby physical gags; characters earn laughs from urinating in public, beating themselves up, or showing or implying other characters getting hurt by means of their own devices. It works well enough, primarily because none of it is overused, and the picture also makes good use of its secondary and tertiary characters -- particularly the food delivery man played by Rob Schneider and the homeless man played by Steve Buscemi (and the film misses out on bringing his story to a conclusion at the end) -- who manage to inject a different brand of humor and balance out the primary gags. Still, the main gag centers on a big kid who is suddenly faced with the challenge of caring for real child while also maintaining his happy-go-lucky childlike view of the world. Sandler tackles that dynamic quite well, and it's his ability to play the part with an effective balance between turning into a small child while still juggling the responsibilities of adulthood that makes the movie work as well as it does.
Big Daddy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sony's Blu-ray release of Big Daddy sports a pleasantly film-like 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. This is neither the sharpest nor the most finely detailed image ever released onto Blu-ray, and with its slightly dulled colors, flesh tones that are always inching towards an orange shade, a few problematic color gradations, and the occasional spot and speckle appearing on the print, it would be easy for one to dismiss Sony's transfer as subpar. Fortunately, these issues are relatively minor, and the transfer more often than not yields an image that's easy to watch surprisingly reflective of a decent theatrical print. Of its strengths, blacks are solid, depth is fair, and a moderate layer of grain swirls around the screen throughout the film. The good and decent far outweigh the transfer's lesser attributes, and while Big Daddy won't be in contention for transfer of the year, fans should be pleased with the strengths to be seen on Sony's budget Blu-ray catalogue release.
Big Daddy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Big Daddy doesn't come with a big soundtrack. Sony's DTS-HD MA 5.1 presentation is a lightweight even by Comedy standards, but it nevertheless handles the film's sonically-limited soundtrack well enough. The track is incredibly front-heavy; indeed, the rear channels may as well be unplugged as the track rarely tosses even a hint of atmospheric support into the back. Sound effects -- ambient city noise, for instance -- are limited in range and confined to a small space up front. Music plays somewhere between cramped and adequately spaced, never sounding at all big or infinitely crisp and satisfying, instead merely content to get the job done as it hovers around the front half of the soundstage. Dialogue is consistently strong, center-focused and never missing a beat. That's all she wrote with this one; Big Daddy's lossless soundtrack adequately conveys all it must, but listeners certainly shouldn't expect anything beyond the basics.
Big Daddy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Big Daddy delivers several little supplements.
Big Daddy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Big Daddy isn't a giant amongst Comedies, but it's a solid hit that sees Sandler in one of his more reserved but also more honest performances. He brings a wonderful balance to the movie as he discovers his true self -- both his childlike exterior and grown-up interior -- in his sudden relationship with a five-year-old boy with whom he shares an almost instant bond of not only friendship but of something deeper: family. It's the perfect role for Sandler, and he hits it out of the park, even considering that, thematically, the picture plays as somewhat stale while the drama and humor are fine if not predictably flat. Big Daddy has its heart in the right place. The results are there, and it's a worthwhile movie, but it's neither Sandler's best overall picture nor a classic within its genre. Sony's Blu-ray release of Big Daddy delivers a serviceable technical presentation and a few extras. The disc is definitely worth a rental, and considering the relatively low asking price, fans should buy with confidence.
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Big Daddy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds Blu-ray General Release - December 15, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds for general Blu-ray release on February 15, 2011. Both of these Adam Sandler comedies had been released on Blu-ray on November 9, albeit exclusively at Best Buy.
• Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds Blu-ray Exclusively at Best Buy - October 11, 2010
The Blu-ray release of Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy, which had initially been announced by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment only to vanish from the studio's schedule, will finally come out as planned on November 9, but with a catch: it will be a Best Buy exclusive. ...
• Big Daddy Blu-ray Cancelled - September 21, 2010
Three weeks ago, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment had announced Big Daddy for Blu-ray release on November 9. Now the studio has unceremoniously pulled this Adam Sandler comedy from its schedule. No reason is given for this cancellation, and no new release date ...
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