Adam Sandler plays Donny Berger, a party animal who, at age 13, engaged in extracurricular activities with his homeroom teacher. When their lovemaking interrupted the graduation ceremony, she was sent to jail, and he was left to raise their baby Han Solo Berger (Andy Samberg), with disastrous results. Cut to present day. Father and son are estranged, and Donny’s glory days are behind him. He needs $43,000 to pay off taxes or he’s going to jail. He turns to the one person he knows might have the money, his son, now a wealthy businessman on the eve of getting married.
Richard: Mark, I felt like I witnessed something special tonight. But not special in a good way. Tonight we sat through That’s My Boy and I can’t help but think that what we saw wasn’t so much a movie, but more some kind of performance art where people who should know better do awful things and charge you 10 bucks to watch.
I hope this is some kind of postmodern art project, ‘cuz a comedy it ain’t. What did you think?
Mark: I didn’t laugh, but I didn’t expect to. What can you say about a movie that tries to resurrect Vanilla Ice’s career, and almost succeeds?
You may call it performance art, but that would only be accurate if someone actually performed in this pastiche. I don’t know what irritated me more: Sandler’s sketch acting style, Andy Samberg’s unfunny, wussy role, the pedophilia and incest motifs, or the desperate, forced “edginess” of the movie.
You’re right about the movie being “special” — like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away. At least I wasn’t bored, although I spent a lot of time wishing I were.
RC: I think Adam Sandler has finally turned the corner from tiresome to embarrassing. It’s hard to imagine a lazier rehashing of all the man-children he has played in the past.
There’s shades of Mr. Deeds, Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore here, all topped off with a grating New England character voice that sounds like a cross between a can opener opening a can of Boston Baked Beans and screeching tires.
MB: I kept asking myself: would this movie be more palatable if Sandler dropped the grating accent? And then I went one step further and recast the role with Steve Carell in the lead and you know what? It would still smell. Richard, you call Sandler’s character a lazy rehash, but the whole movie is dripping in ’80s and ’90s nostalgia — probably the decades when Sandler’s comedy made most sense. Can you pick a scene or actor in this mess that stood above the rest of it? Mine would have to be the scene set in the upscale mens’ spa.
RC: No one escapes this movie unsullied. Also, what does Adam Sandler have against The Godfather?
First he debases Pacino in Jack & Jill, and now James Caan. It’s a good thing Brando is gone.
MB: I just emailed Robert Duvall telling him to watch out. Sandler’s obviously working his way down the list.