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Movie Review

Despite fierce summer competition, the comedy Big Daddy scored $41.5 million opening weekend. Why? Adam Sandler. Fans of sophomoric humor have made him a superstar. Here he conducts a clinic on how to corrupt a minor, then tries to redeem his character's irresponsible behavior with drippy moralizing.

Living comfortably on a six-figure insurance settlement, 32-year-old Sonny Koufax (Sandler) is a career slacker. But when his lack of ambition threatens to cost him his girl, Sonny sets out to prove his maturity by adopting 5-year-old Julian. He teaches the boy to use profanity, urinate in public, fire a slingshot, play poker, scam supermarket discounts and trip rollerbladers for laughs. Some role model. After Sonny allows Julian to eat 30 packets of ketchup, you're forced to wonder if the child wouldn't be better off with social services.

Sonny's pathetic parenting isn't without conscience. He's occasionally warm and caring. He tells kids to avoid drugs and alcohol. After failing in his permissiveness, he's willing to work to undo the damage. Big Daddy also shows the consequences of a one-night stand and supports owning up to mistakes.

That said, this mean-spirited movie is loaded with profanity and anatomical humor. Also, Sonny wakes up beside a barely clad woman, and his gay law school chums are openly affectionate (Sandler plays the "tolerant" friend). Add obscene gestures, a joke about gay porn and Sonny's combustible temper (violent threats and outbursts) and parents have reason to keep kids away from this inept father figure. Even Roger Ebert called the film "creepy and unwholesome."

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Adam Sandler; Dennis Dugan; Joey Lauren Adams; Jon Stewart; Rob Schneider; twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse


Dennis Dugan ( )


Columbia TriStar



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Bob Smithouser

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