If THAT’S MY BOY!…You Can Keep Him!
Movie Review by Kelly Laymon
Unlike most Adam Sandler comedies, I had slightly higher hopes for THAT’S MY BOY. The plot uses torn-from-the-headlines cases like Mary Kay Letourneau as a jumping-off point. We start with a thirteen year old Sandler in the mid-1980s embarking on a romantic and sexual relationship with one of his teachers. They get caught, she gets knocked up and sent to jail for 30 years, and he cashes in on the tabloid celebrity of his situation.
However, by 2012, the money has run out, he’s got almost 20 years of unpaid taxes, his car painted with a Rush logo is beat to shit, and he’s facing jail time if he can’t pony up $43,000 by the first business day after the Memorial Day holiday weekend. And, wouldn’t you just know it, his son, played by Andy Samberg, who he hasn’t seen since the kid turned 18 and went off on his own, is now a successful financial businessman…who also happens to be getting married that very weekend. The idea is to get his son to the prison where his school teacher mother is serving the 30 year sentence for a family reunion on a Jerry Springer-esque talk show.
Obviously, hilarity ensues. The loud and ill-mannered Sandler is an embarrassment around Samberg’s rich business associates. There’s some bonding over a slow-motion bachelor party full of wacky clichés, an overweight stripper, a stripper in a large neck brace, a blow job in the parking lot, etc.. And, of course, motives are discovered, feelings are betrayed, blah, blah, blah. I won’t explain anything from the final act because, aside from not giving away most of the ending, you’d think I was dropping acid in the theatre because things get…un-realistic. VERY un-realistic. Any cars that were still on the tracks after the first 90 minutes completely derailed by the end.
You can certainly count on bit parts from un-funny SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members, such as Will Forte, Rachel Dratch, and Anna Gasteyer. Rounding out the barrage of un-funny is Nick Swardson, who seemed to be doing a terrible Danny McBride impression. Vanilla Ice has a significant role as himself and Todd Bridges has a cameo that lasts a few scenes.
The humor is all fairly juvenile and the dialogue and scenarios don’t have a shred of reality to them. When comedy isn’t grounded in a believable universe, it’s usually pretty lost on me. Rather than taking a real situation and drawing the humor out of it, this film plays like a bunch of “writers” sat around and tried to come up with “funny” kitchen sinks to throw in.
I enjoyed Sandler back in the SNL days, but his film career is getting to be more and more hit or miss. With 2009’s FUNNY PEOPLE, which I adored, he made fun of his career and the kinds of films he’d made. I wondered if perhaps he was seeing things clearly and wouldn’t make that kind of crap any longer. To his credit, he really commits to this lousy material.
One of the cool things, and, trust me, there aren’t many, is the uncanny similarity between the woman who plays the younger version of the school teacher and the present day version played by Susan Sarandon. It’s no coincidence. It’s not even just great casting. It’s her real-life daughter, Eva Amurri Martino. She has also played the younger version of Sarandon in DEAD MAN WALKING (1995) and has also played Sarandon’s daughter in THE BANGER SISTERS (2002).
All in all, two knives are more than plenty. There’s not much redeeming or humorous about this. If you want something totally mindless, watch it. But if you want to watch something in a similar vein, but much better, dig up THE HANGOVER (2009), THE WEDDING CRASHERS (2005), or OLD SCHOOL (2003). Those have genuine laughs and clever dialogue.
© Copyright 2012 by Kelly Laymon
Kelly Laymon gives THAT’S MY BOY! ~ two knives!