That's My Boy
Film Review by Kam Williams
Sandler and Samberg Co-Star in Crude Father-Son Comedy
Anybody familiar with the work of Adam Sandler knows he built his career playing dimwitted characters like Billy Madison (1995), Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Waterboy (1998) in coarse comedies appealing to the lowest common denominator. So, I suppose his loyal fan base, at least, won’t be disappointed by this latest offering, a raunchy bottom-feeder revolving around yet another pea-brained protagonist
If you’re wondering, That’s My Boy is not a remake of the Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin college football classic, but is based on an original script by David Caspe with a totally different storyline. Here, Sandler stars as Donnie Berger, a Prodigal Father desperate for a reunion and shot at redemption with his estranged son, Hans Solo (Andy Samberg).
Trouble is Hans was so ashamed of being the product of the statutory rape of an adolescent by a junior high school teacher (Eva Amurri Martino) that he changed his name and disappeared under the radar the first chance he got. And, while his unremorseful mother was sentenced to a long prison term for statutory rape, his slacker of a father never really amounted to anything after exploiting his 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth.
Fast-forward to the present, where we find Donnie down-on-his-luck and $43,000 in debt to the IRS. He wastes his days soaking his woes and stuffing g-strings at Classy Rick’s Bacon and Leggs, a seedy, suburban strip club where the featured act (Luenell) is a sassy, morbidly-obese sister in pasties.
The plot thickens when Donnie accidentally discovers the new identity of his long-lost son. Turns out “Todd Peterson” is not only a successful hedge fund manager, but on the verge of getting married to a refined socialite (Leighton Meester) from a prominent family. Nevertheless, Donnie decides to track down his son with the help of a fellow has-been, one-hit wonder Vanilla Ice.
Not surprisingly, Todd is embarrassed by the arrival of his trashy dad, and does his best to distance himself from the hopeless case of arrested development. Consequently, much of the ensuing humor is drawn from the shocking contrast of upper and lower class sensibilities.
Like a mean-spirited cross of The Three Stooges and Meet the Parents, That's My Boy trades in typical Sandler fare, cheap jokes at the expense of easy targets: minorities, the disabled and the mentally-challenged, the most vulnerable members of society, in general. When you factor in the profusion of profanity, the graphic sexuality and the cringe-inducing celebration of pedophilia, it all adds up to a tasteless waste of celluloid of no redeeming value.
Poor (0 stars)
Rated R for nudity, sexuality, drug use, ethnic slurs, crude humor and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 114 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures