Having seen young Anakin Skywalker in all those commercials, I was curious to see how his pairing with Adam Sandler would pan out in this revisionist Star Wars called, strangely enough, Big Daddy. We are first introduced to a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sandler), who finds his life at a standstill, unable to progress to the next phase of his Jedi training. His wiser friend (and roommate) Qui-Gon Jinn (Jon Stewart) leaves town for a land to the far east, stranding Obi-Wan with nothing to do but live the life of a do-nothing.
Obi-Wan is surprised by the arrival of young Anakin (twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse), who gives the Jedi a real challenge, for which he finds himself completely unprepared. In this version, Skywalker is the lost son of Qui-Gon, a turn which I don’t think George Lucas will approve of.
Obi-Wan undertakes the training of Anakin, teaching him the ways of Jedi concentration (the ability to urinate in public), agility (pelting him with baseballs), and etiquette (drooling to the ground and sucking it back up).
Only then is Anakin ready for the next step, helping Obi-Wan woo Queen Amidala (Joey Lauren Adams), a wealthy and brilliant woman seemingly out of Obi-Wan’s reach.
Also along for fun and comic relief is delivery guy Jar Jar Binks (Rob Schneider), who, although completely created on a computer, looks extremely realistic and lifelike (although you’ll find his voice a bit grating). Two gay droids, R2-D2 (Peter Dante) and C-3PO (Jonathan Loughran) also make for less serious moments.
Big Daddy takes a turn for the malevolent when social services worker Darth Maul (Josh Mostel) threatens to take Anakin away from Qui-Gon, and assumedly, place him in the hands of the dark side. But a dramatic confrontation in the Imperial Senate ensues, where the Jedis successfully defend young Skywalker, and it’s an appearance from elder Jedi Master Yoda (Joe Bologna) who saves the day.
Altogether, Big Daddy is a fair entry into the Star Wars pantheon. Although I was perplexed by some of the decisions of the filmmakers to try to make this film into a comedy, I will be most intrigued to discover how Anakin eventually turns into the malicious Darth Vader.
Filmcritic.com has learned that this will be revealed in the film’s sequel: Bigger Daddy.
Review by Christopher Null © 1999 filmcritic.com