That’s My Boy
A mean-spirited, one-gag comedy from Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg
It’s no laughing matter that fewer comedies are scheduled for release in 2012 than ever before. While this summer’s Ted demonstrated the genre could still score substantial breakout success, Adam Sandler’s ear for laughs has turned from gold to tin, with That’s My Boy his latest contribution to the ongoing comedic recession.
Sandler plays Donny, who, at 14, had sex with his school teacher Miss Mary McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino). While teacher went to jail, Donny’s child Todd was raised in a blaze of media interest. Now middle-aged, Donny faces a $40,000 tax bill he can’t pay, unless he can persuade Todd (Andy Samberg) to participate in a behind bars reality reunion with Mary (played by Martino’s real-life mother, Susan Sarandon), to be shown on reality TV. The hitch is that Todd is now a straight-laced, upwardly mobile businessman, less interested in bonding with his father than his forthcoming society wedding to prissy Jamie (Leighton Meester).
Director Sean Anders demonstrated some comedic chops with Sex Drive and Hot Tub Time Machine, and adapts a script by David Caspe (from TV show Happy Endings) to the established Sandler formula of vomit/semen situations, leavened by ironic celebrity cameos (give it up for Vanilla Ice!) and over-qualified support (Sarandon, plus James Caan as an Irish priest.) Any notion of getting genuine mileage from Donny’s fear of being rejected by his son is replaced by Todd learning to be an idiot like his father; the message is that stupid beats smart every time.
Every bit as painful as Sandler’s recent career worst Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy wastes Samberg’s considerable comic talents on a thankless straight-man role, and at 116 minutes, it’s at least half-an-hour too long for this kind of mean-spirited, one-gag time waster.
That's My Boy is on general release from Fri 7 Sep.