I’ve learned that there’s a certain standard to keep in mind every time I get ready to watch an Adam Sandler movie. That standard usually tends to be very low. This doesn’t mean I walk into his movies expecting to hate them. What I’m insinuating is that I’ve watched enough of Sandler’s works over the years to know that expecting greatness or some kind of comedy classic is a fool’s errand. They should be taken for what they are – crass, juvenile, and humorous but largely forgettable detours. Go in with that mindset and you’re going to come out satisfied or even surprised – unless it’s something like Jack and Jill. No force on Earth could save that abomination.
Approached with that mindset, That’s My Boy isn’t too bad. It’s still a crass, idiotic, and formulaic Sandler flick but there are enough moments here that had me chuckling. It’s definitely a lot better than Jack and Jill and Grown Ups, that’s for sure. A lot of it has to do with the movie’s R-rating which unshackles the comedian from the constraints of his previous idiotic “family” comedies by re-engaging in the raunchy stuff he used to deliver earlier on his career. And when I say this movie goes into raunchy territory, good Lord I mean it. Some of the jokes here are flat-out sick, grotesque, and disgusting! I’ve got to admire Sandler for swinging for the fences. It’s still a bad movie but at least he’s attempting to do something that’s different from the bland garbage he’s been churning out for the last decade or so.
Sandler stars as Donny Berger, a washed up loser who gained fame in the 80s for having sex with his hot teacher (Eva Amurri Martino) and then knocking her up. Becoming the hero of every man in America, Donny soon becomes an overnight sensation. After the teacher gets sentenced to 30 years in prison, Donny gets saddled with the kid – whose life he ends up wrecking – and losing all the money on drugs, alcohol and wild partying.
20 years later, the kid (Andy Sandberg) who bolted out the door once he turned 18, has changed his name to Todd, reinvented his life as a successful manager, and is about to get married to a gorgeous brunette named Jaime (Leighton Meister). But after the broke Donny gets offered $50,000 to appear in a reality TV show with Todd, he proceeds to inject himself back into Todd’s life and wreck havoc on him once again. Idiotic, low-brow hi-jinks follow.
That’s My Boy isn’t anything noteworthy and is, for the most part, a harmless (albeit gross and idiotic) diversion from Sandler. If you’re a fan of his brand of humor, chances are you’ll enjoy this but for anyone who has grown tired of his shtick, you’re best off staying as far away as possible. I can’t say I liked the movie but I’ll admit to have laughed and enjoyed myself. That itself is a small victory.
THAT’S MY BOY
Directed by: Sean Anders
Written by: David Caspe
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Sandberg, Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice
Rated: R (crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use)