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BIG DADDY

Does BIG DADDY ($25) signal the emergence of a kinder, gentler Adam Sandler? Let's hope not. While this film is funny and sometimes wonderfully vulgar, BIG DADDY seems to lack the biting satirical edge of Sandler's earlier comedies. I guess Sandler is trying to mass market himself with BIG DADDY, because this movie has all the earmarks of a Hollywood production designed to appeal to a larger demographic. In BIG DADDY, Sandler portrays Sonny Koufax, a law school graduate who refuses to take the bar exam, because itís a whole lot easier to live off the $200,000.00 award he received after a taxi ran over his foot. Since Sonny's life seems to be going nowhere and he is afraid to take on any responsibilities, he gets dumped by his girlfriend Vanessa (Kristy Swanson). The something really odd happens that changes Sonny's life- a five-year-old boy named Julian (played by twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse) gets unceremoniously dumped on Sonny's doorstep.

Seeing this as an opportunity to prove to Vanessa that he is ready to take on responsibility, Sonny decides to adopt Julian. Of course, the entire thing explodes in his face. Vanessa decides to get on with her life and Sonny finds himself totally unprepared to raise a five-year-old boy. At first, Sonny wants to turn Julian over to a city agency, but he finds himself unable to put the boy in an orphanage. Instead, he decides to keep Julian, until the city can find him a place in a foster home. Over a very short period of time, Sonny finds his misguided paternal instinct taking over and he chooses to keep Julian instead of turning him over to foster care. As you might have guessed, complications arise from Sonnyís decision to keep Julian. BIG DADDY also stars Joey Lauren Adams as Layla Maloney, the new woman in Sonny's life and Jon Stewart as Sonny's roommate Kevin. Rob Schneider and Steve Buscemi deliver two hilarious supporting performances as the character referred to as the Delivery Guy and the Homeless Guy. The cast of BIG DADDY also includes Josh Mostel, Leslie Mann, Allen Covert, Joseph Bologna, Peter Dante and Jonathan Loughran.

As always, Columbia TriStar Home Video delivers another impressive looking DVD release. BIG DADDY is offered in both wide screen and full screen presentations on opposite sides of the DVD. Indiscriminate viewers won't find fault with the full screen version, but everyone else will be drawn to the terrific 16:9 enhanced presentation. BIG DADDY is framed at a proper 1.85:1, with the transfer delivering a very clean, sharp and well defined image. Color reproduction is first rate; with a fairly natural color scheme and healthy looking flesh tones. Strongly saturated hues are recreated without chroma noise or any signs of bleeding. Blacks are deep and true, plus the image boasts smooth contrast and good overall shadow detail.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a standard comedy mix that keeps the forward soundstage fairly active, while utilizing the surround channels for ambient sound and musical fill. Everything sounds very good, especially the dialogue, which is clean and intelligible. Additionally, the songs on the soundtrack are effectively integrated into the mix. A Dolby Surround soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles. The interactive menus contain a tiny bit of animation and sound, but are in general standard issue. Through the menus one can access the scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVD's extras. The HBO first look-the Making of BIG DADDY has been included, however the brief featurette doesn't delve too deeply into the making of the movie. BIG DADDY also features two music videos, including the Sheryl Crow rendition of Sweet Child O Mine and Garbage performing When I Grow Up. A theatrical trailer and teaser for BIG DADDY are also included, as are trailers for GO, DICK and GHOSTBUSTERS. Cast filmographies fill out the supplements.

 
BIG DADDY 


Big Daddy (1999)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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