Family dysfunction is the name of the game in That's My Boy
Starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. Rated 14A. Now playing
What the hell is wrong with Adam Sandler? He’s done enough interesting work for other filmmakers—most notably in The Wedding Singer, Punch-Drunk Love, and Funny People. But the movies produced for his own Happy Madison company are worse than lazy; he works hard at being bad.
Without quite hitting the level of his last horror show, in which he played hideous twins, Sandler keeps the family-dysfunction level high in That’s My Boy. The new film, previously called I Hate My Dad, pairs with younger SNL veteran Andy Samberg, exploiting their obvious overlaps by playing father and son. This happens as a result of Sandler’s character, Donny Berger, hooking up in the 1980s with his Mary Kay Letourneau–like math teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). They produce a child who eventually becomes Samberg’s Todd, a prissy financial wizard who wants nothing to do with Donny, especially as he’s about to marry a hot number played by Leighton Meester.
This doggedly raunchy, intermittently violent, two-hour movie was wrangled more than directed by Sex Drive’s Sean Anders, and written by David Caspe, creator of ABC’s Happy Endings. The better throwaway lines are handed to supporting players, including Tony Orlando as the son’s rich-guy boss, and Hollywood western veteran Peggy Stewart as the boss’s randy old mother, who puts that shit on everything. I could talk about Vanilla Ice, but won’t.
In the end, it all comes back to Sandler’s so-called character. Sorry, but no one shows up uninvited to his son’s wedding in cutoff shorts and a Mike Reno haircut, carrying his own beer, and is welcomed like the second coming of Jesus Sinatra. Sentimental preaching about po’-people “authenticity” isn’t exactly helped by the mega-rich star’s (wavering) commitment to do the entire movie in an Archie Bunker-on-Quaaludes voice. Turns out that Little Nicky is the hell Sandler can’t escape. But why do we have to keep going there with him?
Watch the trailer for That's My Boy.