Big Daddy (1999 film)

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Big Daddy
Big Daddy film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Produced by Allen Covert
Adam Sandler
Robert Simonds
Jack Giarraputo
Written by Steve Franks
Tim Herlihy
Adam Sandler
Starring Adam Sandler
Joey Lauren Adams
Jon Stewart
Rob Schneider
Cole Sprouse
Dylan Sprouse
Leslie Mann
Steve Buscemi
Kristy Swanson
Josh Mostel
Music by Teddy Castellucci
Cinematography Theo van de Sande
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Out of the Blue... Entertainment
Jack Giarraputo Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
June 25, 1999 (1999-06-25)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $34.2 million[1]
Box office $234,801,895[1]

Big Daddy is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler. The film was produced by Robert Simonds and released on June 25, 1999, by Columbia Pictures where it opened #1 at the box office with a $41,536,370 first weekend [1] as well as a score of 41% on Metacritic.[2] It was Adam Sandler's last film before starting his production company, Happy Madison Productions.


Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is an unreliable, unmotivated bachelor who lives in New York City and has declined to take on adult responsibility. He has a degree in law but has chosen not to take the bar exam since he was awarded $200,000 in a vehicle accident compensation 2 years prior, and lives off his restitution. He is employed, on a part-time basis only, as a tollbooth attendant, and more or less does this job just to get out of the apartment once in a while.

Finally having enough of Sonny's refusing to grow up, his girlfriend, Vanessa (Kristy Swanson), tells Sonny that she's going to break up with him unless he can prove to her that he can be a responsible adult. Meanwhile, Sonny's friends, all former schoolmates, are "moving ahead" in their lives. His roommate, Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart), decides to ask his podiatrist girlfriend Corinne (Leslie Mann) to marry him the day before he is leaving for China for his law firm.

Sonny awakes to find five-year-old Julian (Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse) abandoned at his and Kevin's apartment, with a written explanation that Julian's mother is now declining to care further for Julian, and that Kevin is his biological father. Sonny decides to take initiative, posing as Kevin and using Julian as a means to win Vanessa back. However, when Sonny introduces Julian to Vanessa, he finds out that she's already broken up with Sonny and she's now dating a much older man, Sid (Geoffrey Horne), who's more mature and career-oriented, even having a "5-year plan".

Sonny then takes Julian to his social worker, Arthur Brooks (Josh Mostel), telling him that Julian should return to his mother. Brooks tells Sonny that Julian's mother had died of cancer, thus explaining why she sent Julian to be with Kevin. He tells Sonny that they could take Julian, but he would have to live in a group home, which Sonny realizes is the equivalent of an orphanage. Sonny offers to keep Julian temporarily until Brooks finds a foster home for Julian. Sonny then calls his father, Lenny (Joseph Bologna), who's one of Florida's most respected lawyers, and informs him of his situation. Lenny tells Sonny that he's going to fail taking care of Julian, which Sonny takes offense to. After a conversation with Julian, Sonny decides to raise Julian his own way, giving Julian options instead of orders to let Julian decide for himself, all while teaching Julian new things such as baseball and pro wrestling. Julian also helps Sonny get a potential new girlfriend in Layla (Joey Lauren Adams), Corinne's sister, who's also a lawyer.

Soon, Brooks leaves messages for Sonny, saying that a foster home has been found for Julian, but Sonny refuses to call back, having become attached to Julian. Later, at an open house at the school Julian now attends, the teacher tells Sonny that Julian has taken up many bad habits of Sonny's, which causes him to rethink his parenting methods. He's able to turn himself and Julian around, but then Brooks arrives, learning that Sonny's been posing as Kevin. He tells Sonny that he will have to take Julian or else Sonny will be arrested for technically kidnapping Julian. Sonny reluctantly gives Julian up and then promptly arranges a court case to determine Julian's future.

In court, with himself and Layla as his counsels, numerous people that Sonny knows testify, telling the judge that he's a suitable father. Even Corinne, who harbors a deep hatred for Sonny, admits that he cares for Julian. Julian testifies as well, talking about all the good times he's had with Sonny. As a final attempt to win custody of Julian, Sonny calls himself to the stand and asks his father, who's attending as well, to question him. Lenny quickly gets Sonny to admit to several occasions where he was responsible for someone and was terribly unsuccessful, which he cites as proof that Sonny's not father material. At this point, Sonny quietly tells Lenny that the only reason he's doing this is because Lenny's scared that Sonny will fail, which Sonny assures him that he won't because he loves Julian too much to fail, just like Lenny loves Sonny enough to be scared for him. Seeing Sonny's sincerity, Lenny vouches for Sonny as well.

However, the judge is unconvinced, citing that Sonny, according to law, still kidnapped Julian and orders him arrested. At that point, Kevin, who was able to attend the trial as well, stands up and accepts himself as Julian's father and refuses to press charges. Kevin then reveals to Corinne that, thanks to Julian's testimony, where he said that he's five years old, was born in July, and raised in Toronto, Kevin had had a drunken fling with a Hooter's waitress when he and Sonny went to go see the 1993 World Series, which Sonny confirms. Brooks and his fellow counsel decide to drop the charges on Sonny and the court gives Kevin custody. Julian tearfully hugs Sonny, wanting Sonny to be his father. Sonny promises Julian that he will always be his friend and he will always consider Julian part of his family. With that Sonny hands Julian off to Kevin, watching the two slowly start to bond.

One year, three months, and six days later, Sonny's revealed to have turned his life around. He's finally taken his bar exam, is now a lawyer himself and is married to Layla with a child of their own. Julian is also happy with his new life with Kevin and Corinne, who's also more friendly to Sonny now. At Sonny's surprise birthday party at a Hooter's, Sonny finds Vanessa working there as a waitress, with Sid working as a cook, revealing that Sid's "five-year-plan" has gone awry.



Critical response[edit]

Big Daddy received generally mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film had an 40% rating by the critics.[3] The Rotten Tomatoes consensus says "Adam Sandler acquits himself admirably, but his charm isn't enough to make up for Big Daddy's jarring shifts between crude humor and mawkish sentimentality." The film received a score of 41% on Metacritic.[2]

The film won the People's Choice Awards for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture in 2000.[4] For its shortcomings however, the film was also nominated for five Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actor for Rob Schneider and Worst Screenplay, with Adam Sandler winning Worst Actor. This was the first Adam Sandler film to be nominated for Worst Picture.[5]


The film won a BMI Film Music Award.[citation needed] The soundtrack included the following:

Track listing
  1. "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Sheryl Crow (a Guns N' Roses cover)
  2. "When I Grow Up" by Garbage
  3. "Peace Out" by Adam Sandler (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  4. "Just Like This" by Limp Bizkit
  5. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Everlast (a Neil Young cover)
  6. "Ga Ga" by Melanie Chisholm
  7. "What Is Life" by George Harrison, covered in movie by Shawn Mullins
  8. "The Kiss" by Adam Sandler (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  9. "Instant Pleasure" by Rufus Wainwright
  10. "Ooh La La" by Wise Guys
  11. "Sid" by Adam Sandler (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  12. "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman
  13. "Smelly Kid" by Adam Sandler (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  14. "Passing Me By" by The Pharcyde (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  15. "Rush" by Big Audio Dynamite
  16. "Hooters" by Allen Covert (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  17. "Babe" by Styx
  18. "Overtime" by Adam Sandler (a sound clip from a scene in the movie)
  19. "The Kangaroo Song" by Tim Herlihy (made specifically for the movie)
  20. "The Best of Times" by Styx (only a portion of the song)
Other songs used in the film
Songs from the theatrical trailer not in the film


External links[edit]