That's My Boy

Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 01:00

Directed by Sean Anders. Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, Ciara, James Caan, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando 16 cert, general release, 114 min

WARNING: THIS film contains scenes of incest, masturbation, gerontophilia, statutory rape and Adam Sandler.

With a nod to Mary Kay Letourneau, That’s My Boy begins with the seduction of a schoolboy. Don’t panic: the teacher is hot so it doesn’t count as abuse. If anything, it makes little Donnie (who soon grows up to be Adam Sandler) a star, as men everywhere stand up to cheer his sexual prowess.

Years pass, and Donnie turns into a deadbeat dad who, long ago, lost contact with his son, the product of unlawful teacher- student relations. Facing a hefty tax bill, Donnie must persuade the estranged Todd (Adam Samberg) to visit his mother (Susan Sarandon) in jail for a TV family reunion special. But nowadays Todd is a boring financial sector whizz who is just about to marry bossy Leighton Meister. Can Sandler save the day to the sounds of Rush? And will he have assistance from Vanilla Ice and a merry band of strippers? Yes. Yes, indeed.

There are three kinds of Adam Sandler film. There are classy Sandler pictures such as Reign Over Me and Punch Drunk Love, wherein he proves his worth as a thespian. We need not concern ourselves with these at the moment.

Sandler comedies, meanwhile, fall into two disparate categories: all-out grotesquerie or sappy romcoms. That’s My Boy is the former, which, in usual circumstances, is kind of a recommendation. Sandler’s mawkish PG films (Big Daddy, Grown Ups) somehow always end up being more misogynistic and crass than the gross-out films that proudly trade on being misogynistic and crass.

Given the choice, and depending on what kind of gun you point at us, we’ll take the Adam Sandler picture in which he affects a cretinous voice and harps endlessly on the matter of mammaries any old day. We’ll stick up for parts of The Waterboy. We’ll hold our hand up for Little Nicky. But we just can’t stand over That’s My Boy.

It’s not that the film tries to mine whatever lies beneath the lowest common denominator; it’s not because That’s My Boy finds more than 120 uses for the word “fuck”; it’s not even down to the sex-with-grandma scene. These attributes might have enhanced a film that wasn’t completely freaking lazy.

Much as we enjoyed James Caan’s brawling Irish priest, That’s My Boy might easily have been written and directed by a free downloadable app. The jokes are obvious. The plotting is haphazard. The scatology is just that.

See this movie if you think that Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher is far too uptight about statutory rape, or if you believe that breasts make a honking sound when you squeeze them.

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