I have an unexplainable affinity for Adam Sandler movies. His exaggerated yet sincere kindness is occasionally broken by bursts of anger and meanness, like a gentle dog who’s been whipped once too often. Something in that schtick of his really brings out the high-school adolescent in me and makes me laugh.
Sandler’s best movies haven’t been great, but they’ve been funny and they’ve been solidly made. Big Daddy doesn’t measure up. Maybe the country’s overreaction to The Waterboy has left Sandler fans all laughed out. Maybe it’s the fact that Tim Herlihy, his long-time friend and writer, didn’t write the screenplay.
Did You Notice?
I thought The Wedding Singer proved that Sandler’s style was being refined, developed, and deepened. In it, the man-boy character he plays almost grows up. Big Daddy tries to accomplish the same thing, this time giving Sandler parental responsibilities. But instead of making Sandler look like a grown-up, showing him on-screen with a 5-year old just reminds us how close the two actually are.
I still enjoyed myself at Big Daddy, but I didn’t leave the theater marveling at how Sandler is able to make me laugh every time. Either he’s losing his touch or I’m getting acclimated to his style of comedy. Let’s hope his next movie lets him evolve, and let’s hope Tim Herlihy writes it.