Up front, That’s My Boy is disgusting. The R-rating is a hard R. So be aware. Also up front. I like the movie. Why is a puzzle.
From its premise of a middle school aged boy getting his lusty teacher pregnant and then jailed for 30-years, to a script that brags about it, to the over-use of foul language, sex, drugs, alcohol and fecal jokes, there is little in That’s My Boy to recommend. It’s like a compilation of every disgusting scene or comic bit found in every bad Adam Sandler movie ever done.
When Sandler, writer David Caspe and director Sean Anders were doing the script that didn’t seem to be enough. They then seemed to add every distasteful, foul, gross idea thought of but not put into every bad Adam Sandler movie ever done. And Sandler has done a bunch of bad movies.
Including this one.
If you’re easily offended, That’s My Boy will offend you. On the other hand, if you’re a Sandler fan, and not much of what he’s done in the past has tweaked your “I’m offended” button, then you’ll be okay with this one.
Sandler is Donny Berger, now grown and in debt to the IRS for a big chunk of change. His only hope is to reunite his son, Hans Solo Berger and the jailed, ex-lover teacher for a TV special. At 18, the boy — done by Saturday Night Live’s Andy Samberg — dumped his dad, changed his name and disappeared.
Donny finds the boy again when a magazine does a feature article on his wedding. Desperate to reconnect, Donny invites himself to the wedding and back into his son’s life.
Chaos involving blue language, strippers, strip clubs, drugs, alcohol and sex ensues. It also includes cameos from rapper Vanilla Ice and crooner Tony Orlando. To no one’s surprise, in the end, Donny Berger wins the heart of his son, the heart of his friends and amazingly, the heart of the viewer.
Donny is a throwback to some of Sandler’s early characters. You’ve seen this guy in a half-a-dozen incarnations but this time he seems fresh. Maybe it’s because Sandler has finally perfected the character.
Or maybe he’s just charismatic. Admittedly, even playing an offensive, vile, self-centered cretin, Sandler is likable. Maybe even lovable. In an odd way liking this character is a tribute to Sandler’s talent.
For years I’ve raved about Sandler’s potential and have always wished he’d find a project that really shows off his acting chops. Look past his poor taste in movie choices, and Sandler is a gifted actor. Now that he’s finally done the most odious character of his career, will he grow up and -- at age 46-- find a script worthy of all that skill?
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Director: Sean Anders
Writer: David Caspe
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, James Caan, Susan Sarandon
Rated R for language, nudity, drug and alcohol abuse. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.