A Heartstring-Pulling Adam Sandler Film Is Taking Over Netflix

One of the best Adam Sandler films, that happens to tug on every heartstring imaginable, is currently dominating the charts on Netflix.

By Vic Medina | Published

Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler is the king of Netflix right now, as his latest film Hustle has been a top ten hit on the streaming service since its premiere in June, according to the streaming tracking service FlixPatrol. It’s also boosted some of his other films, including one of his biggest hits from the 1990s, Big Daddy. Big Daddy has jumped into the Netflix top ten over the past week, more than 20 years after it was released. With Netflix the only streaming service offering the film, Sandler fans are taking the opportunity to enjoy the heartwarming comedy once again.

In the 1999 film, Adam Sandler plays Sonny Koufax, a law school graduate living an aimless life in New York City. He doesn’t work, preferring to live each day as it comes, which doesn’t sit well with his family or his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson), who decides to leave him for an older, yet more motivated man. Sonny’s life is turned upside down when five-year-old Julian (played by both Cole and Dylan Sprouse) shows up on his doorstep. Julian is the son of his roommate Kevin (Jon Stewart), who had no idea he existed and is out of town on a job. Julian’s mother has died of cancer (a fact that is glossed over to keep it light), and Sonny decides to keep Julian, more as a buddy than a son. Although he initially uses Julian to meet girls, the two become attached, which complicates things when it becomes obvious that Sonny can’t keep him.

Big Daddy was a smash hit for Adam Sandler, earning over $163 million in the U.S. alone and nearly $235 million worldwide. Filmgoers didn’t seem to mind the negative reviews critics gave the movie: it scored 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Edward Guthmann of The San Francisco Gate ripping the movie for its inability to figure out what kind of movie it wants to be, vacillating between heartwarming comedy and gross-out humor. “Worst of all is the way Sandler wants to have it both ways,” Guthmann sneers in a scathing review. Jeff Milar of The Houston Chronicle was a bit more forgiving in his positive review of the film, stating it was “Funny-sweet…not bleccchh sweet.”

It’s fair to say, however, that Adam Sandler fans didn’t care much about the reviews. They know exactly what they’re getting with his films: goofy physical comedy, gross-out humor, and Sandler’s sarcastic schtick. And Big Daddy delivers that in spades. It does cop-out in the end, choosing for the movie clichĂ© of the courtroom hearing to determine custody of little Julian, although it does provide the chance to feature, once again, the solid cast of supporting characters.

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The film was one of the last major film roles for Jon Stewart, who was already hosting The Daily Show and would phase out acting, except for the occasional guest role in a TV show or movie cameo. The film also stars Joey Lauren Adams as Adam Sandler’s love interest. She plays Layla, the sister of his roommate’s fiancĂ© (Leslie Mann), who happens to hate him fiercely and disapproves of her sister seeing him. Adams had appeared in several Kevin Smith films in the 1990s, most notably Chasing Amy. Kristy Swanson, best known for her lead role in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, plays Sandler’s ex, and sadly has a limited role here. She would go on to star in recurring roles in TV series including Monk and SEAL Team. Leslie Mann has gone on to star in several comedies directed by her husband Judd Apatow, including Knocked Up. She is perhaps most recognized today for her Jergens Skin Moisturizer commercials with her daughter Maude, who now stars in the HBO hit Euphoria. The Sprouse boys would, as most know, become Disney Channel legends, with Cole going on to star as Jughead on Riverdale. The movie also features a hilarious extended cameo by Rob Schneider, a good friend of Adam Sandler who often appears in his films.

Big Daddy wrapped up a pretty successful 1990s for Adam Sandler, who had transitioned from Saturday Night Live star to movie star with hits like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and The Waterboy, which made him one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors. Sandler would go on to star in big hits including Pixels, 50 First Dates, and Click. In recent years, he would shift to more dramatic roles, earning acclaim in films like Uncut Gems, although he still makes dumb comedies for Netflix, including the recent Hubie Halloween.