That’s My Boy

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news for “That’s My Boy”.

The GOOD news is, it’s easily Adam Sandler’s best movie of the last ten years.

The BAD news is that that’s not sayin’ much.

In “That’s My Boy”, Sandler unleashes the character of Donny Burger on us. As a crass young boy, Sandler talks rudely (and by rudely read: sexually propositions) a teacher in order to impress his friends. The thing is, she buys into it, and is soon taking advantage of him. When they’re eventually caught, she is sent to jail for sexual assault of a minor… but he becomes a pseudo-celebrity. As a 13 year old who actually got to DO the teacher, he experiences a rush of national media attention, an influx of cash, and a reputation as a ladies man.

It’s not ALL fun and games though for Donny… as she heads off to jail, it’s revealed that he impregnated his teacher, and now he will need to raise the child as soon as he turns 18. In the meantime, the baby will be the responsibility of Donny’s neglectful father, which is no bed of roses, either.

Flash forward 30 years or so, and his son (Andy Samberg) has disowned him. Donny, of course, was unfit to be a single parent, and his early brush with fame retarded his maturation. Now he’s a crass, juvenile, alcoholic boor of a man who faces a jail sentence for tax evasion. When he discovers that his son has made good and is about to get married, he tracks him down, uninvited, to see if he can get assistance in clearing up his IRS debt. Of course, this winds up being a recipe for disaster, as Donny doesn’t fit in well with the well-to-do crowd and he has to make up a shaky cover story (his son had been saying his father died). There’s also a major storm brewing as Donny begins to get wistful over not having a good relationship with his son, and tries to establish one… the only way he knows how.

Through partying.

In a way, this is the role that Sandler fans have been waiting for since the late 90s. Enough with this sad attempt at family comedy, please, and no more “Character” comedies like Jack and Jill. This is just Sandler playing an immature asshole and doing his stupid laughing and dumb accents through a debauchery filled movie. It’s not exactly high art, but it’s what he does best, if anything.

Additionally, there are some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout. The movie has lots of fun with the concept of a 13 year old father… naming his son Han Solo, for example, or the fact that he lets his child get an enormous, regrettable tattoo. Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges show up, being good sports and playing themselves as the ultimate washouts. There’s also a bachelor party sequence that’s a lengthy, lecherous bacchanal with memorable moments… there are some things I saw that I don’t think I’ll be able to unsee.

Unfortunately, the movie is all over the place in terms of consistency, as typical of an Adam Sandler offering. Just when you’re laughing along with a scene, you’ll get a cross-eyed Nick Swardson appearance, or a super immature joke that fails, and thus you’re just left with the super immature. There are also some plot points that I could have easily lived without, although there’s nothing too offensive or egregious… but at one point I did think that with a little bit of script work and if Adam Sandler lost his stupid fake accent “voice” his insists on having in every movie, this comedy might have had some real potential.

At its best, “That’s My Boy” is a party movie with scattered moments of truly funny outrageous acts. When its bad, it’s nothing but Adam Sandler and his friends acting brain damaged in a movie that has no trouble dipping into the humor kiddy pool.

C+

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20 thoughts on “That’s My Boy

  1. I’d say I tend to agree with your sentiments. It really is one of Sandler’s better films of the past decade – and again that’s not saying really anything.

    Vanilla Ice almost makes is worth it.

    • Almost, right? I mean, he apparently has no shame in mocking himself. Which is nice.

      That’s where I shook out on this. It was decent enough, but it might actually be getting a “surprise” bump in the context of all the other dreck he’s thrown at us lately. LOL

    • Maybe?

      But I think its more a case of Sandler choosing to take sub par projects for the check over the course of a decade.

      I mean, this flick actually had some moments… but I dont know, I think its a certain degree of no matter who you are, you need to mature with age somehow or its just sad.

  2. Wow, dedicated schmedicated. I think I will bow to Fogs for taking one for the team and call you Mr HARDCORE oohhh OOHHHHHHH OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (channeling Sam Kinsen.)

    You Da Man!

  3. Totally agree with you, I swallowed my pride and went to see this yesterday and I think I actually ended up enjoying it more because my expectations were so low. I will admit it’s nice to see Sandler going back to his roots and embracing his inner idiot, however overplayed it might be at this point. Now to swallow my pride even more and see Rock of Ages…

    • Rock of Ages is flawed, too. But its fun, you should enjoy it…

      As to this one, you’re right, I think maybe if this movie had followed Happy Gilmore I probably would have had a much higher esitmation of it AND him. But over the years he’s pissed away a lot of good will.

      Now whenever I wind up laughing, I have to double check myself! LOL

  4. I was so turned off by the trailer that I refuse to see this, even on video. In fact, the trailer is so bad I’m thinking of putting it on my worst list. (Not the movie, the trailer)

  5. You know, that is really a pretty big condemnation of the man’s career right there, isn’t it? When somebody who has actually gone to see his movies calls his latest one the best in a decade, and it still doesn’t even crack the B grade level… that’s harsh. And yet, I’m sure it’s totally accurate.

    • Yeah, I dont know, it has material in there at times that’s like B+ worthy… for decent stretches. And then he’ll jsut put a scene out thats a complete F. Its so inconsistent. Youre laughing, rolling your eyes, doing both… its crazy.

      I do try to be accurate though. :D

    • It was sad and refreshing at the same time Dave. Refreshing to see him be funny again at certain moments and to get a glimpse of the type of comedy he COULD have been providing us. But sad to see how incredibly low brow that that humor really was. LOL :D

  6. There was a great piece by Nick Prigge (I think) on Anomalous Material about Adam Sandler never having grown up. It is so apt, especially given this new film and recently Grown Ups, Big Daddy and of course Billy Madison. But you wonder where the joke runs its course and just becomes a bore. I like the guy, I like his films but he’s definitely been more miss than hit in the last few years. I found things to enjoy – surprisingly – in Zohan and Just Go With It but felt Funny People was pretentious and Grown Ups was poorly written.

    It is unfortunate because Sandler’s got bags of talent – The Wedding Singer, Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, all excellent.

    • He does have talent, but you’re right (and Nick probably is too) he hasn’t grown up. I think the joke HAS run dry already to a large extent… I mean, he’s a name, but his star has lost some luster, for sure.

      I guess I’d like to give him Kudos for trying something different in Jack and Jill, but that movie was so gawd awful, Dan. LOL. You know?

      Sandler does have a lot of talent, and that’s why it IS a shame to see where he’s gone with his career. He was so funny when he busted out… :(

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