This is by-the-book Adam Sandler, with the usual trappings and window dressing — like his stock crew of misfit comedian buddies, and the strange vein that runs through so many of our star’s movies of turning the flabby Sandler into some kind of supposedly irresistible sexual dynamo. The humor’s the same as always, filled with goofy voices, random celebrity cameos, various and sundry bodily fluids, and a cadre of actors cast for their aberrant looks as a means for cheap laughs. But in spite of everything wrong with That’s My Boy — and there’s plenty — there’s something that subtly works about it. Director Sean Anders and screenwriter David Caspe have created a movie that, while catering to the worst of Sandler, isn’t mean-spirited. There’s an almost astute look at family, a really, truly dysfunctional family, but family nonetheless. The film involves Sandler as Donny, a generally uncouth lout who gained fame in the ’80s for knocking up his high school teacher. Now, with the prospect of heading to prison for tax evasion, Donny butts into the life of his long estranged son (Andy Samberg), who’s now turned his life around after a traumatic childhood of being raised by a teenage idiot. There’s a surprisingly natural progression to their relationship. Still, the movie’s just plain bad in most areas, despite getting lots of things right, and remains a pretty ugly proposition by trading in both the worst of Sandler and the most threadbare and obvious aspects of ’80s nostalgia.
Director: Sean Anders
Writer: David Caspe
Producer: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Heather Parry and Alen Covert
Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, James Caan, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, Vanilla Ice, Ian Ziering, Eva Amurri, Will Forte and Milo Ventimiglia