Title: That’s My Boy
Director: Sean Anders
So much time is put into the casting of an Adam Sandler flick. And that rings true for the latest cameo-laced Happy Madison production, That’s My Boy. Too bad not enough thought was put into the script.
Aside from Sandler conjuring up one of his many amusing voices from his ‘90s comedy albums, this just seems underwritten and uninspired. Actually, it also feels kind of late to the raunchy party, too.
Put it this way: there’s low-brow juvenile comedy; and then there’s creative low-brow juvenile comedy. Sadly, this is representing the latter part of that statement.
Yeah, the guy still has his moments within the dialogue, and the orchestration of a few scenes/bits have that old-school immature Sandler stench-stamp all over it. Especially since this is rated-R. But when factoring in the main characters – many of which are making their first appearance in a Sandler product, they all seem out of place. Or maybe it’s just that the storytelling pattern seems worn out after a decade of mediocrity from the once clever on-screen comedian.
The only details that will be given about the plot is that it stems from a younger version of Sandler’s character, who is a key player in a highly publicized scandalous act, that leads to him becoming a reality star back in 1984. During that period, he ends up fathering a kid before graduating high school. Fast forward thirty years later, and he’s now a dead beat former “child star.”
Sandler’s character sports an unkempt Steve Perry mullet, jorts (jean shorts), and talks with a thick raspy Bostonian street accent. And by doing so, a handful of his one-liners do have the ability to derive a chuckle, even though the encasing sequences drag on much like the entire presentation.
After fifteen minutes or so of the flashback set-up, Sandler ends up looking to reconnect with his long-lost son (Andy Samberg) for purely selfish reasons. Samberg has changed his identity to avoid any linking with his man-child father’s shenanigans. He has become a successful, yet dorky, hedge fund guru, who is about to marry the lovely and pretentious Leighton Meester at a ceremony at his well-off boss’ (Tony Orlando) seaside estate. Of course, once Sandler unexpectedly shows up – carrying a hefty bag filled with Budweiser and nunchucks, a charade to keep the truth from Meester’s family, along with everyone else in Samberg’s life, is paramount during the wedding weekend.
Look, the middle portion is where this displays remnants of what many early Sandler fans yearn for. A decent bachelor party sequence, and any time Sandler gets horny, shows promise. The intro and bloated third act however castrate any chance of this being a triumphant return to pre-Big Daddy form. If you’re going to go back to the well with Sandler, then the filmmakers needed to commit all the way. It seems they were trying, yet it’s all the same shtick when they go with this character gimmick/direction, even down to the accompanying ‘80s rock soundtrack. Trying to blend pre-2000 Sandler era with his recent works – as seen strictly through the story and other characters, definitely does not give the audience the best of both worlds. In fact, the filmmakers act as the Death Star and blow them all up (there’s a piss-poor running joke about Star Wars that is beaten to death like many other jokes…hence the reference).
Overall, That’s My Boy ironically would have worked better as a comedy album than a feature film. While Sandler and his usual cast of role players are clearly having a blast, the rest of the roster, especially co-lead Andy Samberg, is overshadowed and therefore, negates any flow to this. Sure there are a few laughs to be had, but this is not a mid-90s Sandler encore performance for those being lured into this by the R-rating and the sharply edited trailer.
And if you see this and disagree with the review, then you have to admit you took full-pleasure in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star (another raunchy Happy Madison brainchild…which wasn’t half-bad actually).