While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.
Adam Sandler-ites are going to be pleased as punch to add That's My Boy to their collection of discs branded with Sandler's Happy Madison production company seal. Those who don't share the specialized tastelessness required to appreciate the movie-star mogul's brand of lowbrow comedy may find themselves fumbling over words like "stupid," "pointless," "infantile," and especially "unfunny." Unlike some Sandler outings that have slightly broader appeal, there will be no middle ground between lovers and haters of this story about a man-child reconnecting with his estranged son in a sea of hard R-rated raunch, vulgarity and jokes about sex, bodily fluid, sexism, racism, ageism, and all manner of juvenile buffoonery. Sandler plays Donny, a feeble, annoying, stuck-in-adolescence has-been who got famous at age 13 when his hot teacher had her way with him, got pregnant, and went to jail. He exploited this schoolboy fantasy for years until it was milked dry. Now his estranged son Todd (Andy Samberg) is getting married to rich girl Jamie (Leighton Meester) after finally--he thought--getting rid of the shame of being the spawn of Donny and the horny teacher (played young by Eva Amurri and older by Susan Sarandon, who are real-life mother and daughter). Todd changed his name from Han Solo and has gotten rid of hundreds of pounds, and his story is that his parents are dead. The charade continues when Donny shows up at the rich girl's family compound on the wedding weekend desperate for money, claiming to be Todd's long-lost "best friend," and somehow winning over everyone with his drunken, potty-mouthed obnoxiousness. It's no surprise that the wedding goes awry or that things end up with epiphanies and righted wrongs, at least in the version of foolish reality the movie depicts. But it's impossible to overstate the grotesqueries of taste that happen from the very start to the very last. That's not to say that there aren't some big laughs along the way, just that That's My Boy requires its audience to share that very specific form of bad taste. Samburg is essentially the straight man to Sandler's typical funny-voiced goofing. Sandler employs lots of his old comedy friends (as well as real family members) to flesh out the large cast. In addition to fun extended cameos from Tony Orlando as Jamie's father and James Caan as an unorthodox priest, there are lots of other familiar faces from SNL and elsewhere, including Vanilla Ice, Todd Bridges, Will Forte, Nick Swardson, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Alan Thicke, Colin Quinn... Phew! It's a veritable feast of dimwitted comic chops with the comedy aimed squarely at the folks who think Adam Sandler is a sainted icon. As far as That's My Boy's exquisite crudity is concerned, he's more like a ham-fisted overlord. --Ted Fry