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Review – That’s My Boy

With Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice, James Caan. Written by David Caspe. Directed by Sean Anders. Rated R (for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use). 114 minutes.

With the alleged comedy THAT’S MY BOY, Adam Sandler may have finally bottomed out. Realizing that his brand of vulgar comedy has been surpassed by movies like “Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover,” he has gone all-out. There is no bodily fluid he will not exploit in an attempt for laughs, including having a bride taste a mysterious substance deposited on her wedding gown. This is a movie that will make some laugh and others wishing they could take a long, post-assault shower so they can wash it off.

To begin with, this is a comedy about pedophilia. That’s supposed to be okay, see, because the victim is Donny Berger, 13, and the adult initiating the sex is his hot teacher Mary McGarrigle. They get caught having sex – during a junior high school assembly – and she is sent to prison, pregnant with their child. This is all played for laughs because what 13-year-old boy doesn’t want to have sex with his hot teacher, right?

Thirty years pass. Donny (now played by Sandler) is no longer the celebrity he once was and his son Han Solo Berger (Andy Samberg, only twelve years younger than Sandler in real life) has changed his name and told everyone his parents are dead. Now he’s set to become a partner in a Boston financial firm run by Steve (Tony Orlando) and marry the hot Jamie (Leighton Meister). Nearly all of the women in the film are supposed to be babes, including Steve’s elderly mother (Peggy Stewart), who becomes part of an elaborate sex joke involving not only Donny but rapper Vanilla Ice (playing himself).

At this point the movie is a cross between “Meet The Parents” and the recent Sandler bomb “Jack Aand Jill.” Sandler plays the annoying character who reenters Han’s life – upset that Han now calls himself Todd – because he needs his son’s cooperation to earn money to pay his back taxes and avoid prison. Bizarrely, everyone thinks Donny is charmingly eccentric, even when they realize who he is, while they are also constantly belittling Todd. This is a movie where the bulk of the laughs come from Todd being continually humiliated by everyone around him, including his fiancée. In one scene, he is beaten up by a priest played by James Caan. Having embarrassed Al Pacino in “Jack And Jill,” fans of “The Godfather” have to be quietly pleased that Sandler can no longer cast deceased actors Marlon Brando and John Cazale.

As if jokes about pedophilia were not enough, the script provides plenty of material about masturbation, incest, and an obese woman who is a pole dancer at a strip club. Someone somewhere somehow may deem this material funny, but you probably wouldn’t want to spend much time with them in an enclosed space. Sandler, however, revels in it.

“That’s My Boy,” originally entitled “I Hate My Dad,” is Sandler’s gift to us for Father’s Day. Sandler may have a good relationship with his own father, but he certainly seems to have it in for the rest of us. This may be the most loathsome film of the year.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 1 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being Jar Jar Binks Must Die… And Other Observations About Science Fiction Movies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville.


About Daniel M. Kimmel

Film critic, author, lecturer.

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