June 17, 2012

Movie Review: That's My Boy

No matter how you look at it, Adam Sandler has had an interesting career. Whether you like him or not, his brand of man-child, arrested development has gone through distinct changes over the years and you can track it through its stages. The past few years have seen a regression. Where you might have been fooled by the emergence of a slightly more mature Sandler in movies like Spanglish, Click, and Funny People, you,are now finding him in retrograde. Sandler appears to be trying to recapture the magic of Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore with more recent releases like Don't Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups, and now That's My Boy.

That's My Boy sees Sandler playing a guy stuck in the 1980's with the voice of Little Nicky if he were perpetually drunk and from Boston. The character is then placed in a story ripped straight from the headlines and then given a vulgar spin by loading it up with plenty of bodily fluid and sexually charged humor.

You know, there is nothing particularly original or memorable about the movie, but it did manage to make me laugh for two hours (still surprised they were able to stretch it out that long) and that has to say something, right?

The story is a simple one, Sandler is Donny, who, as a young teen, was seduced by a teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). The illicit relationship results in a pregnancy. The teacher is sent to jail for thirty years and Donny finds himself a teenage father who doesn't know what he is doing, not to mention a tabloid sensation (complete with a made for TV movie).

We fast forward nearly thirty years and rediscover Donny, a man clinging to the past. He is scarcely ever without a beer in his hand. He is learning that the past is the past and that not paying taxes has its consequences. Upon learning he owes $43,000 in back taxes, he turns to his estranged son, named Han Solo but changed his name to Todd (Andy Samberg), a successful hedge fund manager who is on the eve of marrying Jamie (Leighton Meester).

Well, the majority of the film has the rough around the edges Donny trying to get to know his son. There is a lot of animosity between the two as Donny was not exactly a poster child for good fatherhood.

Seriously, that is really all there is to the story. It is certainly raunchy, but it is never without some heart. No matter how rough Donny appears, it is always wrapped around a sensitive core.

I am pretty sure you know exactly where the story is going to go. It takes a few odd twists, but nothing terribly groundbreaking. This is not a movie that is not so much about the plot as it is about careening head first from gag to gag. Everything is focused on getting to the next laugh.

If I said I did not like the movie, I would be lying. I did not love it, but it made me laugh. It is certainly a mash of Sandler styles. It appears to be a throwback to his early career while also representing the older Sandler who is a father. You get the rough wrapped around the sensitive. It is a goofy, unrealistic character, but it made me laugh.

You could also sort of see this as passing the torch to Andy Samberg, whose movie career is still in its early stages (be sure to see the underrated Hot Rod). He is good as the straight man trying to deal with the shenanigans and finding himself wrapped up in more than he expected.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the presence of Vanilla Ice, playing himself in a significant role. Clearly not above poking fun at himself, the guy is quite funny and I would not be against him doing some more acting.

If you want to laugh and like gross jokes, check this out. You may not remember it for long but you will laugh. I am still surprised they stretched this out to almost two hours. Hey, so long as I get some laughs, that is all good.

Mildly Recommended.


Matt Paprocki said...

Still sounds like it has more of a story than Grown Ups... which didn't have one.

draven99 said...

No doubt, it did. I couldn't stand Grown Ups, it was like they brought cameras on vacation with them and we got the outtakes. This one actually made me laugh. It may not be great, but it made me laugh.

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