Review of That's My Boy


Movie Review: "That's My Boy"

-- Rating: R
Length: 116 minutes
Release Date: June 15, 2012
Directed by: Sean Anders
Genre: Comedy

There are two camps regarding most of Adam Sandler's movies: the camp that loves them and the camp that hates them. "That's My Boy" is no exception. If you are a fan of Sandler movies, then you will appreciate the movie.
Sandler plays Donny Berger, a guy who fathers a child through an affair with a teacher when he's a preteen. He named his son Hans Solo Berger (Andy Samberg). When Hans turns 18, he strikes out on his own, hoping to put distance between him, his father and the circumstances surrounding his conception. He changes his name to Todd Peterson, and goes on to become a successful businessman with a wealthy fiancée, played by Leighton Meester.

Donny, on the other hand, isn't exactly leading a happy life. He became famous as a child when he fathered his son, but as he became an adult, his fame disappeared. He becomes a slacker who hangs out at a local strip club with his friends Brie (Ciera), a bartender and Champale (Luenell), a stripper. Donny finds out that he owes the IRS $43,000 and if he does not pay the debt within a week, he will be sentenced to jail for three years. As he's trying to come up with ways to raise the cash (including making a bet on an overweight man winning a marathon), a reporter (Dan Patrick) offers Donny a deal: Arrange a reunion between Todd and his mother, whose name is Mary McGarricle (Susan Sarandon) in jail and the reporter will pay Donny's IRS bill. This is the set up for a myriad of situations between Donny and Todd, Jamie, Jamie's "brother" Chad, a priest, Vanilla Ice and a host of other characters.

Like most of Sandler's movies, the cast is a who's who of Hollywood and current and former Saturday Night Live cast members. If the movie's plot doesn't hold your interest, pointing out the famous actors, musicians and television personalities will. If you saw "The Wedding Singer," and the Billy Idol scenes, or "Happy Madison" and the scene with Bob Barker, then you will really appreciate the scene between Donny and Vanilla Ice. The television reenactment of Donny and Todd interacting when they were younger is another classic scene with stars from the 80s. The humor in the movie includes slapstick, bathroom, raunchy and witty. Sandler is in his element, going from measured rage to deadpan sarcasm while blending in his usual charm and charisma. Interestingly enough, this is one of only a handful of Sandler movies in which his character doesn't have an actual romantic interest. The character's main focus is on forging a relationship with his son and raising the money to stay out of prison.

Donny is not a foreign character for Sandler to play; he's much like the down-and-out, slacker characters he has played before in movies such as "Billy Madison" and "Big Daddy." However, there are parts of Donny that make you think of Robbie from "The Wedding Singer" and Deeds from "Mr. Deeds." In other words, you don't hate Donny; you actually feel a bit sorry for him, and it doesn't take much for you to start rooting for him. Again, this is a typical reaction to most of Adam Sandler's characters.

Todd's character is easy to understand from the beginning. It is clear why he felt the need to distance himself from his family history, going as far as telling his friends and fiancée that his parents were killed in an explosion. Of course, this lie leads to new lies when Donny tracks him down. It is also interesting to realize that Todd distanced himself from his family because of the scandal, only to almost marry into a family with just as many, if not more, scandals in their closet. It is interesting to see Todd's attitude toward his father change as the movie progresses. He starts with horror that his father has reentered his life, and then finds himself defending him at various times during the movie. After a misunderstanding of the type that typically drives a Sandler movie, Todd accepts who he is and that Donny is his father. He also begins the reconciliation process with his mother, a woman he's never officially met, since she was sentenced to prison because of the circumstances surrounding Todd's conception.

"That's My Boy" is a good Adam Sandler movie. If you want some laughs and like to spend time pointing out celebrities on the big screen, check out this movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars