There are three kinds of Adam Sandler movies: sweet (The Wedding Singer), serious (Funny People) and juvenile (most of the rest). With That’s My Boy, we’ve got a new category: raunchy, tasteless gross-out comedy in which you could probably devise a team sport out of counting the F-bombs.
THAT’S MY BOY
Directed by Sean Anders
Starring Adam Sandler, Andy SambergThe set-up has 13-year-old Donny Berger acting on a reciprocal crush with his hot teacher. This results in a baby, jail time for the teacher and custody of the child eventually going to Donny (when he turns 18).
Donny becomes a star, a legend, a National Enquirer-level celebrity. He makes lots of money on his name. Then, one day, he’s old news, and it all goes away. Then his son, when he reaches 18, goes away, telling people he’s an orphan. Then Donny gets a bill from the IRS for, oops, all those taxes he never paid.
Raunchy, tasteless, gross-out comedy? Hell, the basis of the story sounds Shakespearean. But it’s not. Devious plans are hatched by Donny, involving hopes of getting back together with his kid, who’s now 30 and successful and getting married, and has changed his name from Han Solo Berger to Todd Berger (Andy Samberg), and wants nothing to do with his “dead” dad.
Sandler is shameless in his boorish portrayal of a lout who’s, you know, not really a bad guy. To his credit, he’s consistent in the part. But Samberg, who has nice moments with his sympathetic, Xanax-dependent Todd, isn’t very convincing when he’s called upon to go over-the-top crazy in a few instances.
There’s room and reason for a couple of compliments here. Both Tony Orlando (yeah, that Tony Orlando), as Todd’s boss, and Vanilla Ice (seriously), as Donny’s old pal, hit all the right notes, each contributing plenty of self-deprecating humor. And there are a couple of great gags about New Kids on the Block and Charlie Sheen.
But despite the film’s already high level of coarseness, it just keeps getting more vulgar. Sandler fans will recall his character’s preference for much older women in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
But no one’s gonna be ready or willing to deal with Grandma Dolores (Peggy Stewart) in this outing.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m in the minority.
Sandler’s movies keep getting made because they keeping making money. But it’s a strange experience to be groaning out loud and looking at your watch to see when this thing will be over, while the lowbrow audience all around you is laughing hard and hoping it’ll never end.