It's a rule that a big-budget film needs a soundtrack. Fans will want a souvenir of the film and the soundtrack stands as a good advertisement for the film. That's the case with Big Daddy, a typical hodgpodge of covers, oldies, new cuts and dialouge that either promotes the film or inspires fond memories of it, since it surely doesn't hold up as an album of its own. Instead, it's a series of moments, highlighted by the high-profile covers -- Sheryl Crow's "Sweet Child O' Mine," Everlast & the White Folx's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and Shawn Mullins' "What Is Life." Not that these are the best moments on the album, but they are the tracks that are designed for maximum radio exposure. Of the three, Crow's Americana revamping of Guns N' Roses is the most successful; not that it was necessary, but it is done well. Everlast's reading of Neil Young sounds like "What It's Like" with a stronger melody (and pales in comparison to St. Etienne's warped disco/house revamping of the tune) and Mullins' cover of Harrison is too faithful. Surprisingly, the real standouts on the record are from Melanie C, whose "Ga Ga" is a truly irresistable piece of pop that suggests she may be the one Spice Girl who has a future outside of the group, and Rufus Wainwright's bubblegum-tinted cover of Seth Swirsky's "Instant Pleasure." Of course, the oldies from Yvonne Elliman ("If I Can't Have You"), Big Audio Dynamite ("Rush"), Styx ("Babe") and the Pharcyde ("Passing Me By") sound as good as they ever have, and they sit will with highlights from recent albums by Garbage ("When I Grow Up") and Limp Bizkit ("Just Like This"), but listening to the album without hearing the movie is distracting. The songs don't really hold together and the dialogue is often inaudible or just not funny without knowing their context in the film (the same is true for Tim Herlihy's childrens song parody, "The Kangaroo Song"). Fans of the film may find this soundtrack entertaining enough, since it does have its moments, but there's nothing on Big Daddy that really makes the record special.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine