Movie Review: That’s My Boy (2012, Dir. Sean Anders)

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Have you ever seen a movie that really makes you think? This movie makes me think. It makes me think about how much a full frontal lobotomy costs these days. This is Adam Sandler’s That’s My Boy.

That’s My Boy is the compelling story of a man who must reconnect with his son, told through sophomoric, unfunny, sexist, homophobic, and racist jokes, with scenes of fake sentimentality sprinkled on to make you think this movie has a heart. Adam Sandler plays Donny, a lazy, yet charismatic guy who needs to win something or take care of something. Have we not seen this character before? Can you put your finger on when? With the exception of Sandler’s character in the 2009 film Funny People, since 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love, he has been playing this same guy, the loudmouthed douche with a “heart of gold”.  How much do I dislike this movie? Let me tell you…

 

For starters, the film opens with two major flaws: a joke about statutory rape, and, they ripped said joke from the far superior South Park.  The film opens in the 80’s, with Adam Sandler’s 13-year-old self and his teacher doing the nasty and then her eggo becomes prego. Due to the pregnancy, Adam Sandler’s hot teacher, played by Eva Amuri (New York I Love You, The Education of Charlie Banks), is thrown in jail, leaving Adam Sandler to take care of the child. And of course, due to the fact that he is thirteen, he doesn’t have a clue how to raise that kid, so the kid grows up to be a violent serial killer who comes after Adam Sandler. Except not really. I just wish this movie was that interesting.

The movie then cuts to the present day, Sandler leading a life of shallow pleasures, sort of like the producers of this movie.  His son, played by Andy Samberg (Celeste and Jesse Forever, Hot Rod), is a hedge fund manager with a ton of money who left home when he turned 18 and never looked back. I’d leave home if I was Adam Sandler’s seed. Anyway, Sandler needs money to payoff a ton of back taxes, so he hatches a scheme to mooch of his son, like most parents do. While reuniting with his son, he discovers that his son is getting married and decides to crash the wedding stuff that isn’t the wedding. At first, Samberg is horrified by the site of his do-rag wearing banshee-voiced psychopath father trying to get back into his life, but then he is seduced by the dark side of the force. The movie implies that Sandler is teaching Samberg how to live life to its fullest, when in reality it’s just Adam Sandler screaming like an idiot and Andy Samberg suffering the consequences of his dad’s stupidity.

The film is a mess. The core flaw of this film is the fact that it stifles much of its talent. Andy Samberg should have been allowed to do more raucous things in this movie instead of being forced to play the straight man to Adam Sandler’s wild man. Another aspect is the script. You have two comedians who are capable of being pretty funny, and THIS is the best you come up with?  A lame Wedding Crashers rip-off? Yeah, it’s R-Rated and raunchy, but it’s not even funny raunchy. It’s just stupid. It’s more or less just telling the viewer to laugh at people for being different. Like ha-ha, he is gay. And that’s the whole joke. It’s like they saw Superbad or Pineapple Express, didn’t get that beneath the filth and F-bombs was a story about bonding or coming to terms with your friends leaving, and just copy and pasted all the jokes without having the setup. This film has no heart. It’s just another Sandler vehicle, looking to make a quick buck off gullible viewers. Imagine if Judd Apatow had been behind this film. He would have Sandler, Samberg, and Rogen in a movie together which would at least be worth a rental. This film tries far too hard and it fails miserably, for the most part.

What do I mean by the most part? There were two things I liked about this movie. One, the Vanilla Ice cameo. He was actually kind of funny, in a self-deprecating kind of way. It wasn’t that funny, but given this film, it’s one of the two highlights, which isn’t saying much. The other highlight is the ending. The ending is so bizarre and out there that I will give them props for it. Words couldn’t describe how hard I laughed at the ending of this. I mean, there were tears. That ending was something else.

However, a funny ending and a nice cameo doesn’t fix a whole movie. It makes it a little more bearable. Overall, this movie sucks. Is it as bad as Jack and Jill? No, but that isn’t that hard to do. I’d like to see Adam Sandler do something better, as the excuse that these movies make a ton of money is no longer relevant due to this and Jack and Jill bombing critically, and more importantly, financially hard. Hopefully, this movie’s failure is a wake up call. Audiences want comedies that are funny. We want to laugh. These films are slowly suffocating what credibility Sandler and these filmmakers have left. But, I know, that through all that  money, the talented and funny Adam Sandler is still there. The guy who made audiences laugh in such classics as The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. I know you can prove your critics wrong, Mr. Sandler. In the immortal words of Rob Schneider, “You can do it!”

That’s My Boy had potential, but wasted most of it by going for the cheap and easy route. This could have been Sandler’s comeback. Instead, it’s another blemish on his already blemished career.

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