'That's My Boy' is an Adam Sandler stinker
Posted June 14, 2012
It hasn't even been a year since Adam Sandler tortured audiences with Jack and Jill.
But he's back with That's My Boy, (* out of four; rated R; opens Friday nationwide) another bottom-of-the-barrel raunchfest that is bound to make far more money than such sludge could ever deserve.
Sandler is capable of good performances. He proved it unequivocally with 2009's Funny People and in 2002's Punch-Drunk Love. Not every film has to be nuanced or important. But comedies do need to make people laugh.
For some reason, Sandler is hellbent on perpetuating and repurposing his annoying brand of moronic, preadolescent schtick. Worse, his lowbrow comedies seem to be sinking ever lower.
That's My Boy is puerile, mean-spirited and charmless. The laughs are almost always at someone's expense or involve incredibly vulgar jokes about bodily functions.
Sandler plays the boorish Donny Berger, whose development was arrested at 13 when he began a sexual affair with his teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). Now, at about age 40, he still dresses as he did as a kid, sports a mullet as he did in middle school and engages in the same behavior. With the notoriety that came from his teacher's trial (which resulted in her 30-year imprisonment), Donny also became a low-level celebrity.
A son was born of the union, and when he turned 18, Donny got custody of his boy, whom he named Han Solo. Now in his 20s, Solo has renamed himself Todd (Andy Samberg) and distanced himself from the dad, who had no idea how to raise him. Donny made his 8-year-old son drive him around when he was drunk and let him eat all the cake he wanted, resulting in his weighing 400 pounds.
But Todd has slimmed down and become a hedge fund manager, and is poised to marry the glamorous Jamie (Leighton Meester). Then Donny barges back into his life just days before the wedding, swilling beer and talking trash. He needs $43,000 for the back taxes he never paid and is being offered cash by a reality TV show — if he can arrange a meeting between his son and his jailed mom (later played by Martino's real-life mom, Susan Sarandon). Todd knows nothing of this and slowly begins to warm up to his raucous rascal of a dad.
Contortionist strippers, a bridal gown soiled by vomit and semen, a randy granny, a violent priest, poop jokes and an extended incest gag figure into this unfunny gross-out fest.
Sandler plays a man-child in the most off-putting way. To say that his movies are an acquired taste is to deceptively imply that there is an element of taste involved.
Samberg, who can be quite funny on Saturday Night Live, picked a lousy vehicle for his first major big-screen role. Playing straight man to the endlessly irritating Sandler is a thankless job.
That's My Boy is beyond bad. It's two hours of non-stop wince-inducing misfires, punctuated by Sandler's distinctively grating voice. It's a nearly intolerable experience.
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