Over the last few years, Adam Sandler has gone from Hollywood comedy gold to a sad self-parody, probably (and hopefully) bottoming out with 2011′s abominable Jack and Jill. His latest effort in trying to rectify his comedy-cred comes in the form of the R-rated That’s My Boy, in which he shares the spotlight with not himself, but upcoming comedy actor Andy Samberg.
Does that make things better than Jack and Jill? Well, worse wasn’t really an option…
There are actually three good things about That’s My Boy.
1. There are three – exactly three – chuckle-worthy moments in the film. Which sadly is more than for many recent self-proclaimed comedies. Two of them even include Sandler’s character Donny, who in a rare fit of timing manages to make us laugh at his truly unsympathetic character, once in the middle of masturbating over pictures of his son’s grandmother-in-law and later in a “twist” on the inevitable dash-to-stop-a-wedding-in-the-company-of-Vanilla-Ice scene.
2. Andy Samberg actually manages to create a person you half-want to root for but is surrounded by idiots inside what can only very loosely be called a script, rather than the much more accurate description: random shit Sandler and director Sean Anders came up with on whatever set they stumbled onto each day. You even find yourself waiting for him to break out into one of his brilliant Lonely Island musical numbers in every single scene. Sadly, though, that does not happen.
3. The film is relentlessly and unapologetically vulgar. Its stream of expletives, scatology, gratuitous nudity, incest and general gross-out tactics is so overpowering that at some point about half-way through, you kind of just succumb to it, which makes the second hour -yes, it’s almost a full two hours long- slightly more tolerable than the first.
4. Susan Sarandon, although she only appears for about a minute and a half, is an inspired choice to play a 60-ish-year old sexual predator.
As you can probably deduce from these “good” points, calling this film a success would be something of a stretch.
That’s My Boy confirms once and for all that Adam Sandler has gone Full Pantomime. His self-flagellating presence, covered by layers of crudely assembled and overblown costumes, makeup and physical demeanor, has by this point become so grating that the few instances where he isn’t stinking up the screen feel like moments of blissful tranquility, even when these moments contain vomiting and consequent (off-screen) ejaculation on a wedding dress, a retarded man hiding in an obese stripper’s wardrobe or Andy Samberg talking about his “safety pants”. Additionally, Sandler’s deformed voice kind of sounds like what you imagine Al Pacino will sound like in about ten years, which will be the first and last comparison this reviewer will ever make between Adam Sandler and Al Pacino.
Now, the mere presence of scatological jokes or any gross-out humor alone isn’t justification to condemn a film, as there is a definite audience for that kind of humor, and has been for a long time, and besides, one of the few universal constants is fart jokes’ ability to produce laughs. However, the complete and utter lack of comic timing or anything resembling comedic rhythm renders the film’s neverending onslaught of vulgarities so off-putting that it’s complete flop in cinemas comes as no surprise at all.
Also, have you seen how Vanilla Ice’s celebrity has shot into the stratosphere once again after his extensive appearance in this film, where he playfully parodies his own persona as a formerly famous has-been?
Final Verdict: The best thing that can be said about That’s My Boy is that it’s not as catastrophically horrible as Jack and Jill. So there.