Big Daddy (1999 film)

Big Daddy is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and written by Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler. It stars Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Stewart, Rob Schneider, Dylan and Cole Sprouse and Leslie Mann. The plot follows an overgrown adolescent man who gets dumped by his girlfriend for not accepting responsibility. He then proves he is a grownup by adopting a six-year-old boy who appears in his doorstep.

Big Daddy
A boy and a man with their backs turned, peeing in a large doorway
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDennis Dugan
Produced bySid Ganis
Jack Giarraputo
Screenplay bySteve Franks
Tim Herlihy
Adam Sandler
Story bySteve Franks
Music byTeddy Castellucci
CinematographyTheo van de Sande
Edited byJeff Gourson
Columbia Pictures
Out of the Blue... Entertainment
Jack Giarraputo Productions
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • June 25, 1999 (1999-06-25)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$34.2 million[1]
Box office$234.8 million[1]

Released on June 25, 1999, the film opened at No. 1 at the box office with a $41,536,370 gross in its first weekend.[1][2] The film was Sandler's highest-grosser domestically until Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015).[3]


In New York City, Sonny Koufax is a 32-year-old slacker who refuses to take the bar exam (despite being a law graduate), works one day a week as a toll booth attendant, and lives off a large compensation payout from a minor accident. His girlfriend Vanessa threatens to break up with him unless he grows up. His roommate Kevin Gerrity proposes to his podiatrist girlfriend Corinne Maloney before he leaves for China to work on a case for his law firm, and she accepts. Sonny constantly teases Corinne, who strongly dislikes him, about her former job at Hooters.

The next day, Sonny wakes up to find a six-year-old boy named Julian McGrath abandoned at their apartment. A written explanation states that Julian's mother is no longer able to care for him and that Kevin is his biological father. Sonny contacts Kevin, who is puzzled by the news, but Sonny assures him that he will look after Julian until Kevin returns from China. In order to win Vanessa back, Sonny introduces her to Julian. However, he discovers that she is now dating Sid, an elderly man whom she reveres as more motivated, intelligent, and has a "five-year plan".

Posing as Kevin, Sonny takes Julian to his social worker Arthur Brooks, telling him that Julian should return to his mother. However, Brooks informs Sonny that Julian's mother died of cancer. Sonny then decides to raise Julian his own way. The two develop a strong fatherly-son bond. As such, the boy renames himself "Frankenstein" and also helps Sonny find a new girlfriend in Corinne's lawyer sister Layla. Brooks finds a foster home for Julian and leaves messages for Sonny, but is suspicious when Sonny does not answer. At a meeting at Julian's school, the teacher is shocked by the terrible habits Sonny has allowed Julian to develop, causing Sonny to rethink his parenting methods. He turns Julian's behavior around, but then Brooks arrives to find out Sonny impersonated Kevin, and threatens to arrest him if he doesn't hand over Julian. Sonny complies, but contacts Layla to help take legal action.

In court, numerous people including Corinne testify on Sonny's behalf and tell the judge he is a suitable father. Julian also testifies and provides information regarding his heritage. Sonny then calls himself to the stand and asks his Florida lawyer father Lenny to question him. Despite Lenny's fervent belief that Sonny is not father material, Sonny convinces Lenny that he will try his best at being a father. Impressed by Sonny's sincerity, Lenny vouches for him. Nonetheless, the unconvinced judge orders Sonny's arrest. Kevin, having pieced the necessary information together, confesses to being Julian's biological father and insists they drop the charges. Sonny remains friends with Julian and hands him off to Kevin, watching them bond.

One year later, Sonny has turned his life around: he is a successful lawyer, is married to Layla, and they have a child of their own. At Sonny's surprise birthday party at a Hooters restaurant, attended by Kevin, Corinne, Julian and others, Sonny sees Vanessa working as a waitress with Sid working as a cook, revealing his "five-year-plan" has gone awry. Everyone but Vanessa celebrates Sonny's birthday.



Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 39% based on 94 reviews, and an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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."[4] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[2] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+.[5]

Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club called it "Sandler's best movie" noting that "Sandler possesses an innocence that makes the mean-spiritedness inherent in much of his work surprisingly palatable."[6] Robert Koehler of Variety called it "a step forward for Adam Sandler, as well as a strategy to expand his audience. While the loyal male-teen aud[ience] core will not be disappointed with the spate of gags just for them, story contains solid date-movie material."[7]

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said: "There's no doubt Sandler is talented, but if he persists in believing that, like Elvis, his presence alone covers a multitude of omissions and inconsistencies, he will squander his gift and make a series of forgettable films in the process."[8]Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one-and-a-half out of four stars, describing the main character as "seriously disturbed" and the story as "predictable", although he did praise Joey Lauren Adams's character as "entertaining".[9]


Year Award Category Result
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actor - Comedy: Adam Sandler Won
2000 Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy: Dylan and Cole Sprouse Nominated
2000 Favorite Supporting Actress - Comedy: Joey Lauren Adams Nominated
2000 BMI Film & TV Awards Teddy Castellucci Won
2000 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film Nominated
2000 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Picture Nominated
2000 Worst Director: Dennis Dugan Nominated
2000 Worst Actor: Adam Sandler Won
2000 Worst Supporting Actor: Rob Schneider Nominated
2000 Worst Screenplay: Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler Nominated
2000 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Won
2000 Favourite Movie Actor - Adam Sandler Won
2000 MTV Movie + TV Awards Best Comedic Performance - Adam Sandler Won
2000 Best Male Performance - Adam Sandler Nominated
2000 Best On-Screen Duo - Adam Sandler, Dylan and Cole Sprouse Nominated
2000 People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Won
2000 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy Nominated
2000 Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing Over $100M Nominated
2000 Worst Performance by a Child in a Feature Role: Dylan and Cole Sprouse Nominated
1999 Teen Choice Awards Film - Movie of the Summer Won
2000 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Under:Dylan and Cole Sprouse Nominated
1999 YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Comedy Film: Dylan and Cole Sprouse Nominated


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [10]

The film won a BMI Film Music Award.[13] The soundtrack included the following:

Track listing
  1. "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Sheryl Crow (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 C
  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 The Wiseguys
  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. "Passin' 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


  1. ^ a b c "Big Daddy (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  2. ^ a b "Big Daddy reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  3. ^ "Adam Sandler Movie Box Office Results". Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  4. ^ "Big Daddy Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  5. ^ BIG DADDY (1999) Archived 2018-02-06 at the Wayback Machine CinemaScore
  6. ^ Rabin, Nathan (June 25, 1999). "Big Daddy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  7. ^ Koehler, Robert (June 18, 1999). "Big Daddy". Variety. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  8. ^ Turan, Kenneth (June 25, 1999). "Big Daddy: Father Knows Best?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 27, 2003. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 25, 1999). "Big Daddy movie review & film summary (1999)". Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "Big Daddy - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  11. ^ "big daddy - soundtrack review".
  12. ^ "Big Daddy".
  13. ^ "BMI Honors Top Film and TV Composers". 15 May 2000.
  14. ^ sweet child

External linksEdit