That’s My Boy

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Posted June 10, 2012 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

0/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: comedy
 
Director: Sean Anders
 
MPAA Rating: R
 
Actors: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester
 
Length: 116 minutes
 
Release Date: 6/15/2012
 
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Happy Madison Productions
 
 
What We Thought

That’s My Boy is a new low for Sandler, and as the star of Jack and Jill, that really is saying something.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
When 6th grader Donny Burger knocks up his math teacher, she’s sentenced to a long stint in prison, and he’s eventually awarded custody of their child, whom he names “Han Solo.”  He raises the child on a diet of chocolate and candy, and never does any real parenting.
     Decades later, Donny’s (Adam Sandler) celebrity status as “the guy who banged his teacher” is fading.  He’s going to prison for tax evasion, unless he can come up with the $43,000 he owes.  A sleazy reality TV show exec offers him that much and more if he can get his son to appear at a reunion with him and his mother at the women’s penitentiary.  However, they haven’t spoken in years, and reconnecting seems unlikely.
     His son (Andy Samberg) is now a successful hedge fund manager, if a neurotic, pill popping mess, who carries spare underwear around like a toddler’s woobie.  He goes by “Todd Peterson” to distance himself from his father’s legacy.  He’s also about to marry into a rich family to a woman who walks all over him like cheap carpet.
     When Donny shows up at the bride’s family’s front door with a garbage bag full of his possessions, Todd tells them that Donny’s his “best friend,” to avoid shame.  However, the family takes a liking to his father’s fun-loving, irreverent “charm,” and invite him to stay through the wedding, where he takes over as Todd’s best man.  Over the days ahead, Donny tries to reconnect with his son, winning over the family, while embarrassing his stuffy son.
     That’s My Boy goes for easy yucks, and can barely manage a chuckle.  There’s jokes about most every bodily function, and cheap gags about fat people, strippers in neck braces, and sex with old people.  The humor has neither class nor wit, and there’s dead spots a plenty; a monologue about how Donny and Todd met fails to end in a punch line.  Samberg can’t play straight man well, being given to goofy facial expressions.  Sandler delivers his lines somewhere between a screech and a whine, and the result is grating rather than funny.  Sandler eventually resorts to prop comedy out of desperation, like Carrot Top but without the invention.
     As usual for Sandler, the film is a celebration of bad behavior, but That’s My Boy tries to justify the act of pedophilia by comparing it to other sexual taboos, but by which one I cannot say—I wouldn’t want to spoil an Adam Sandler movie.  He gives a speech about how real love feels, but we know when he gives it he’s talking about the teacher he slept with when he was little more than a child himself. South Park got here first almost six years ago, and had more genuine laughs at the subject matter, but it knew that the behavior was wrong, and the plot proceeded accordingly.  That’s My Boy lauds it.  The film depicts the teacher as desirable rather than despicable—there’s a slow motion close-up on her lips as she drinks from a water fountain—even as she sits in prison.  That’s My Boy is a new low for Sandler, and as the star of Jack and Jill, that really is saying something.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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