Review of That's My Boy
on 2012-06-14 10:07
Adam Sandler and R-rated comedies usually don’t go together. The last one he did was Judd Apatow’s criminally underrated “Funny People” in 2009, a movie I can only assume was too cerebral to be seen as a Sandler movie. And while “That’s My Boy” is in no way cerebral, it’s nice to see a bit more “dirty” from an actor whose long been playing it safe.
His character, Donny, begins the film as a thirteen-year-old, seduced by his hot math teacher (Eva Amurri Martino, the daughter of Susan Sarandon) and left to raise a son when she’s caught and sent to prison. The scandal turns Donny into a nationally known celebrity, one who’s coasted ever since into being a deadbeat adult who owes a large sum to the IRS. With no other option, a sleazy tabloid news show offers him 50 grand if he can produce a reunion between him, his son, and the incarcerated mother. Only the problem is the estranged son, Han Solo, now a successful number cruncher who re-named himself Todd (Andy Samburg), wants nothing to do with either, and is looking at an upcoming wedding to beautiful woman (Leighton Meester) and big promotion that will hopefully move him beyond his sleazy past once and for all. Of course Donny shows up just before the wedding (introduced as a friend since Todd has already told everyone both parents are dead) just in time for some wild drunken antics and father-son bonding.
Even when the jokes are at their most gross, you can tell Sandler and co. are having some infectious fun here. Everything from masturbation, piss, vomit, incest, boobs, genitals, sex with geriatrics, and racist Asian jokes make up this mosaic to tastelessness, all of it handled with sloppy direction from Sean Anders. Yet as bad as all this is, it’s outrageous and as things move along, wildly entertaining. It also helps that it has some nice, genuine human feeling to it. Sandler and Samburg are good together, the former doing a kind-of Boston-accented Al Pacino who can’t go a couple of sentences without saying something profane, offensive, or crudely sexual, while the later is meant to be the straight-man wuss who needs a lesson in getting a backbone. There’s a nice undercurrent to this relationship of a father trying to make up for the parenting mistakes of his youth, which include letting the kid balloon to 400 pounds and giving him one of the most embarrassing tattoos you could ever anyone. Along the way, Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), playing a hard-ass army sergeant who has it out for Todd, Tony Orlando, Todd’s boss, and Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges, playing themselves, show up for some laughs too. Like I said, nothing cerebral going on here, but as far as Sandler movies go, this one at least has a childish ambitiousness.