Two things. I did not pay to watch this film, and I would never independently and of my own normal volition agree to see a new Adam Sandler film. The man hasn’t made a good Happy Madison movie (because the two films his team didn’t write produce that he’s starred in, Punch Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, are actually pretty good) since Happy Gilmore and even that and Billy Madison aren’t “good” movies. They’re simply guilty pleasure comedies that I must admit make me laugh. Honestly though, the only good Happy Madison movie since then (and once again, I’m using “good” loosely) didn’t even star Adam Sandler. It was Grandma’s Boy, and I’m pretty sure I only like it because I’m a gamer and have a massive crush on Linda Cardellini (cause I’m a big Freaks & Geeks fan). So, I went to see Adam Sandler’s newest film, That’s My Boy, with some friends in Morgantown. They had free movie tickets from their apartment complex (as well as guest tickets) and they gave me one. We were going to see Moonrise Kingdom but it wasn’t playing at that theatre, and so THEY decided to go see That’s My Boy instead. I wasn’t paying for anything so I would have been a dick if I complained. After the horrendous trainwreck known as Jack and Jill, it would have been fair to just assume that That’s My Boy was continuing Sandler’s trend in making some of the worst films of the last ten years. It wasn’t that bad. It was bad. It was not a good movie, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I must admit that on about four occasions I laughed out loud quite heartily.

The premise of the movie is Adam Sandler’s much belated attempt to be topical (considering these scandals were in the news years ago and have sort of fallen out of prominence). Adam Sandler plays Donny Berger, a man-child who experienced fifteen minutes of fame in the 1980s when he was seduced by his middle school teacher (Eva Amurri in the past, Susan fucking Sarandon in the present) and impregnated her. When she was sent to prison, Donny’s father (and eventually Donny when he turned 18) was given custody of their son, Han Solo (Andy Samberg), and Donny raised Han Solo til he was 18 at which point he moved out, changed his name to Todd Peterson, and became a wealthy hedge fund manager. Now a days, Donny is a washed up loser who’s still trying to cash in on his fifteen minutes of fame as a child but he’s only got $28 to his name. When he finds out he owes $40,000 to the IRS in back taxes, Donny only has three days to come up with the money or he’s going to jail. If he can get Han Solo/Todd to agree to visit his mother in jail as part of a 25 year later story on their trainwreck of a family, Donny can make $50,000. The problem is that Todd hates Donny and hates publicity. It’s also the weekend of his wedding so Donny decides to crash the weekend wedding festivities to get closer to his son and find a way to keep himself out of prison.

This is going to be a short review. I could probably count on one hand the number of times this movie made me laugh out loud, and weirdly enough, I was laughing during the parts that nobody else in the film was laughing at (they were laughing at the more sophomoric gross-out humor moments). It’s not a very funny movie and it’s not going to make you laugh very often if you prefer Woody Allen to Will Ferrell, or Alexander Payne to Eddie Murphy. The film appeals to the lowest common denominator, except you’ve got to think that even fans of low-brow, scatological humor have to realize that Adam Sandler isn’t even trying anymore. To him (with two exceptions), acting means adopting an annoying voice and being as obnoxious as humanly possible. It’s about seeing just how much you can grate the audience’s nerves without becoming a completely unsympathetic douche bag (though he crosses that line several times throughout the film). Andy Samberg’s decision to leaveSNL now seems even more questionable if this is what his career has to look forward to. The only parts of the movie that really made me laugh was two funny lines fromSNL’s Will Forte as well as outrageous cameos from Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges (the Todd Bridges one was especially ridiculous).

That’s My Boy is immature, homophobic, disgusting, and often patently offensive. However, I must admit that I’m not the film’s target audience. The fact that I can compare Paddy Chayefsky to Aaron Sorkin (especially in the light of Sorkin’s newest program) means I’m operating at a level that the average Adam Sandler fan avoids like the plague. Everybody else who went to the movie seemed to enjoy it (though the most common expression used was, “It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.”) Two of my friends were laughing like hyenas. So, if sophomoric antics and man-child caricatures are your thing, you might enjoy That’s My Boy. If you want even a modicum of sophistication in your humor or are simply tired of this whole men that refuse to grow up genre of comedy and the disgusting gags therein, go see something else at the theater this weekend.

Final Score: C-

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