THAT’S MY BOY
* (out of 5)
June 15, 2012
Adam Sandler as DONNY
Andy Samberg as TODD
Leighton Meester as JAMIE
Vanilla Ice as HIMSELF
Milo Ventimiglia as CHAD
Directed by: Sean Anders
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The most frequent question I’ve gotten from people who know I saw “That’s My Boy” is whether it’s better of worse than “Jack and Jill.” That’s not an easy question to answer, mainly because to do so requires watching both “That’s My Boy” and “Jack and Jill.” To make someone do that would likely get you tried for atrocities against the human race.
Still, I managed to sit through both movies, and I can say for certain that “That’s My Boy” is better than “Jack and Jill,” though only slightly. It was not an easy decision, considering “That’s My Boy” runs more than 20 minutes longer than “Jack and Jill.” But at least Adam Sandler only plays one character, instead of two.
And boobs. There are boobs in “That’s My Boy.” Not all of them are fun to look at, but they are there, nonetheless.
Aside from these differences, both films are equally annoying, painful, unfunny and dumb.
“That’s My Boy” opens with Adam Sandler’s character Donny Berger as a thirteen-year-old kid who has a fling with his math teacher. He gets her pregnant, she’s thrown into prison for 30 years and Donny is left to raise the boy on his own. After the son reaches adulthood, the son (Andy Samberg) leaves home and changes his name (from Han Solo Berger to Todd Peterson), becoming an up-and-coming financial whiz. In present day, Donny has fallen down on his luck, owing $43,000 in back taxes. He tries to reconnect with his son in an attempt to find the money.
I had a little hope for “That’s My Boy” simply because it was a return to Happy-Madison R-rated comedy, something Adam Sandler hasn’t starred in since before Happy-Madison was conceived. While most of the recent Happy-Madison films have been terrible, the R-rated films it produces with other stars can be mildly entertaining. (I happen to be a huge fan of “Grandma’s Boy,” and as bad as “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” was, it wasn’t even close to being the worst of 2011.)
However, the R-rated label does nothing to make the film any better. Sure, they can throw around more f-bombs, and there were those boobs I mentioned before. However, the film simply stoops to gross-out, raunchiness and outrageous situations for its own sake. Like a wet-behind-the-ears comedian, the mere utterance of an f-bomb isn’t funny. Anyone can do that. Weaving a joke around it is what takes real talent.
And there’s no real talent anywhere to be seen in “That’s My Boy.”
Worse, the film samples from other movies as shamelessly as its out-of-place co-star Vanilla Ice (yes, *that* Vanilla Ice) did with his music in the 90s. It’s like “Little Nicky” made violent love to “Meet the Parents,” and this abomination is the result.
The best thing I can say about “That’s My Boy” is it actually shows a little bit of a diversion from Sandler’s most recent string of godawful films (comprising “Grown Ups,” “Just Go With It” and “Jack and Jill”). At least he’s moved away from an idiot man-child who is awkward but rich with a super hot love interest. In “That’s My Boy,” Adam Sandler’s character isn’t rich, and he’s not banging a hottie.
But even with this consolation, you’re trading in Salma Hayek and Brooklyn Decker for extended sequences of Adam Sandler masturbating. Literally.
There was a time in Sandler’s career, not too long ago, where he was stretching as an actor even if he wasn’t making the greatest movies. Now, it feels like he’s given up. “That’s My Boy” is just another line in his career’s ever-growing suicide note.