Wrapping up Sandler September, we have what I consider Sandler's last great comedy of his golden years. It's completely up for debate, but I find this to be where Sandler peaks in his comedy. His overall range is kinda complete here. We got the goofy Sandler with 'Billy Madison', the sarcastic Sandler with 'Happy Gilmore', the charming Sandler with 'The Wedding Singer', and the character acting with 'The Waterboy'. This brings it full circle where we finally get to see him act a little more serious while maintaining his sense of humor. I'd probably guess that this is about as close as he comes to playing himself.
We meet Sonny Kaufax (Sandler), a slacker who refuses to complete his bar exam despite earning his law degree. In the meantime, he's living off compensation from an accident, and working an odd job as a toll booth attendant. In short, he's a bit of a low-life, but comfortable in how things are going; that is until his girlfriend, Vanessa (Kristy Swanson) threatens to break up with him if he doesn't get his act together. On top of that, his roomate, Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart) proposes to his girlfriend, Corinne Maloney (Leslie Mann), and he fears being left behind in the dust, not really knowing what to do about his situation.
Enter a five-year-old boy named Julian McGrath (Cole/Dylan Sprouse) who shows up at Sonny and Kevin's apartment with a note that claims he's Kevin's son. Kevin, having headed to China on business, is confused by the phone call he gets about it from Sonny, but Sonny offers to help him out until he gets back. In doing so, he pretends to be Kevin in order to obtain custody of little Julian, mostly so that he doesn't have to stay in a group home until Kevin gets back to sort things out. This leads to an unlikely bonding between Sonny and Julian, and through their bond, they learn a lot about each other and themselves along with their individual potential.
In the meantime, Sonny also falls for Lalya Malony (Joey Lauren Adams), Corinne's lawyer sister, so there's a bit of a love story here as well. But luckily, the brunt of the film is about the relationship between Sonny and Julian while Layla is more just a love interest to keep Sonny's development going - in other words, what will he do honestly to be with her. The pair are cute together, and it's easily one of the sweetest roles you see Adams ever play. It's also refreshing to see his three friends who are in almost anything with him together in more serious roles; Peter Dante, Allen Covert and Jonathan Loughran as his three best friends, again attributing this role to perhaps something closer to himself.
This is another film that gives me the nostalgic vibe for 1999 for a variety of reasons. For one, the soundtrack is about as 90s alternative as a soundtrack can get (save maybe a couple of songs), but above that, I used to watch this one with my friends almost religiously. It was just that movie we'd throw on for something to laugh at almost every time. It's humor isn't so off the wall its crazy, but there's enough of that blended with a more straight-man type of humor, making this great for just about any Sandler fan. Again, I might mention that this is one of the first times we see Sandler really emote, and It shows his range pretty well.
Sandler has gone on to impress and un-impress us time and time again. He can shine in dramatic roles like 'Rein Over Me' and 'Uncut Gems'. He's shown great voice acting as Dracula in the 'Hotel Transylvania' movies. But he's also just delivered a bunch of Netflix trash, most of which I've never seen because its reviewed so often as such. One day I'll give them a chance, but I do feel that much like with his counterbalance of 90s comedy, Jim Carrey, he had his time and there's a part of me that just sees him as yesterday's news. All five films I've reviewed this month hold a special place in my heart for different reasons, though, and I do claim this to be the last of the golden years of Sandler, ending those years on a truly sweet and memorable note.