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That's My Boy

That's My Boy

Released 7 September 2012
Director Sean Anders, John Morris

Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, James Caan, Vanilla Ice
Writer(s) David Caspe

Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Heather Parry
Origin United States
Running Time 116 minutes
Genre Comedy
Rating 16

Really bad boys.

Adam Sandler should seriously consider changing the name of his production company. The “Happy Madison”  logo that appears at the beginning of new Sandler vehicle That’s My Boy, calls to mind a happier time when his brand of adolescent comedy still held a certain appeal. Given the laugh-free, charm vacuum that I had to suffer on screen for the next couple of hours, perhaps Jack and Jill productions would be a little less hubristic? It would certainly make everything else, even this latest disaster, seem at least a little less terrible in comparison.

Of course, there are certain similarities between Sandler’s performance in That’s My Boy and those in his earlier films, indeed the characters have a lot in common. Donny is an overgrown child adrift in adulthood. Choosing a good time over responsibilities and sporting a ridiculous raspy voice, he is a classic Sandler good-time guy. What Donny and the entire film lacks though, is that childish sweetness that once accompanied the bad behaviour. Instead, from the beginning of the film, it’s clear that That’s My Boy is heading more into sexually explicit, Hangover territory, for which it has received an R rating in the United States.

We meet Donny as a thirteen year old boy (let me emphasise the “boy” part), who has a crush on an attractive teacher, played by Eva Amurri. The pair have a stomach churning affair, resulting in prison for the teacher, celebrity for the boy and a pregnancy. Cut to the present day and Donny is washed up and facing a prison term for tax evasion. In search of a meal ticket, he attempts to reconnect with his estranged, successful son Todd (Andy Samberg) on the week of his wedding. While Todd resents his deadbeat father, everyone else inexplicably likes him and he sticks around for the celebrations.

It’s a comedy free zone, scraping the barrel as far as incest and paedophilia in an attempt to conjure up some edgy laughs. None are forthcoming. In fact, there is a nasty whiff of desperation about its aggressively horrible attitude to its characters, in particular the women. Oh and Vanilla Ice has a prolonged cameo... Unfunny and unpleasant, That’s My Boy hammers home another nail in the coffin of Sandler’s career.

- Linda O’Brien