Adam Sandler (“Jack and Jill”) has got to be screwing with us. After sitting through Sandler’s portrayal of a playboy has-been in “That’s My Boy,” there seems to be no other alternative. You never know — Sandler could actually be a comedic mastermind. His filmography could be the Da Vinci Code of Hollywood, if you would. But until he says otherwise, here’s the more likely theory: Sandler makes dumb movies for dumb teenage boys that want to see boobies and laugh at pee-pee jokes.
That’s My Boy
At Quality 16 and Rave
Sandler is Donny Berger, who after having sex with his middle school teacher, has a son named Han Solo Berger (Andy Sanberg, “SNL”). Instead of being appalled, the nation embraces him and he becomes an overnight sensation. But his fortune and fame quickly dry up. Han Solo grows up, disowns him and neither of them speak to each other for many years. Then, one day, his father needs money and tries to reconnect with his son.
In short, “That’s My Boy” plays out like one long, badly written skit. The film delivers on a few laughs, and there’s plenty of raunch. But its antics are too predictable. The film’s absurdity is matched only by its lack of ingenuity. And its jokes are less funny each time they’re repeated. The film has all the lewdness of a loud-mouthed man-child, but none of the charm. On a technical level, the editing barely gets the job done and the pacing is choppy. This, coming from director Sean Anders, whose best-known notch in the belt is “Sex Drive,” comes as no great surprise.
Often, many of the jokes feel like carbon copies from Sandler’s older movies. Take the now-infamous Bob Barker beatdown in “Happy Gilmore.” Back then, as stupid as it might’ve been, it succeeded. Repeating that bad-ass old man gag with James Caan (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) is lazy. And it’s just sad to see ol’ Sonny Corleone swinging it out with a doughy Sanberg. The entire affair can be summed up in a single word: embarrassing. Still, it’s not as embarrassing as realizing you spent your hard-earned cash on something as asinine as this movie.
How asinine? Vanilla Ice stars. Sandler uses another one of his silly accents that might appeal to a prepubescent monkey with man-child sensibilities. Sanberg is superfluous. The funny man we’re used to seeing on SNL is a no-show. Hell, A Lonely Island musical number could’ve done wonders for this film. That’s the very least writer David Caspe (“Happy Endings”) could’ve done. But knowing Sean Anders’ ability as a director, even Sanberg’s eccentric rapping would’ve failed here.
One can’t help but feel “That’s My Boy” was an afterthought that got out of control. While the smart writer can leave an afterthought as just that — kill their darlings, so to speak — the Happy Madison Crew was compelled to take a crass joke and inflate it with a $70 million budget. You ever think of a joke, start to tell it, then stop because it’s a dumb joke? Those are afterthoughts. That’s how the entire film should’ve happened — it should’ve never happened.