Once upon a time Adam Sandler was the go to actor when it came to low brow humor at the movies. Sure Sandler’s movies sometimes lived and died in the whirlpool of toilet humor but they made you laugh. Whether it was a drunken penguin hallucination, a fist fight with Bob Barker or the sight of simpleton from Louisiana crush and old man dressed as Colonel Sanders, we all laughed like a bunch of sixth graders. Don’t even think about lying movie snobs, I know you thought Sandler screaming “You’re Gonna Die Clown” at a mini golf clown head was hilarious. Unfortunately over the last five years Adam Sandler has starred in some of the worst comedies to hit theaters and he has the Razzies to prove it.
Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and the worst offender of the bunch, Jack and Jill have all been destroyed by critics and Sandler supporters for being stale, safe, and dare I say it, too juvenile. That’s why old school Sandler fans rejoiced to find out Sandler would be returning to his raunchy roots in That’s My Boy rated R opening June 15th starring another unique comedy talent, SNL alum Andy Samberg.
That’s My Boy tells the story of a young Donny Berger played by Sandler who got all hot for teacher in the 1980’s with unfortunate but hilarious consequences. When Miss McGarricle (played by the mother daughter tandem of Eva Amurri-Martino and Susan Sarandon) gets knocked up, busted by the whole school and sentenced to thirty years on child molestation charges over the underage affair, Donny is left to raise the baby on his own. Donny becomes a teen heart-throb over the media frenzy that surrounds the affair but is an awful dad who causes his son played by Andy Samberg to leave home at eighteen and disown his D list celebrity dad. Years later Donny runs into tax problems and try’s to hunt down his son now going by the name Todd so he can cash in on a reunion special about the teacher student affair for a Geraldo type newscaster played by a white-haired Dan Patrick.
I will say that this is the funniest Sandler film of the last five years but remember what the last 5 years have been like for Sandler on film so take it with a grain of salt. When Donny shows up clasping a beer and begins to mingle with the corporate socialites his son Todd is now a part of you get the awkward dirty humor that’s been missing from Sandler’s recent projects much to our immature hearts delight. Sandler’s thick non authentic Boston accent did bother me a little in the beginning of the movie but after a while I began to ignore the goofy voice but I do think the weird voice will turn some viewers off. Also if you are looking for Any Samberg’s off beat humor you will not get it in this film. Samberg is the straight man to Sandler’s man child Donny. Samberg does have a few funny moments but for the most part you feel sorry for this guy who is the innocent victim of hurricane Donny.
Comedy fans do not freak out over Samberg’s lack of laughs because there are plenty of other scene stealers in this movie. Jet’s coach Rex Ryan showed his time on Hard Knocks paid off playing Donny’s low rent lawyer and die-hard Patriots fan obsessed with Tom Brady’s perfect jaw line. Vanilla Ice plays himself and has a great time on film making fun of his image as one of Donnie’s running mates from his glory days. The real scene stealer is Milo Ventimiglia who plays Chad, Todd’s future brother-in-law who is a little too protective over his sister played by Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester. Who knew Milo had such comedic chops and would steal laughs from both Sandler and Samberg? Milo has a scene involving jazz hands that was so subtle but made me out loud.
Laughing out loud is what has been missing from many of Sandler’s films over the last few years. That’s My Boy surprisingly made me laugh out loud a few times including the very last scene of the film which had everyone cheering and belly laughing at the same time. This is always great for a comedy because nothing makes you smile more than laughing one more time right before the lights come up and the audience has to return to their normal lives. Fans of the cult hit Grandma’s Boy will enjoy this film and keep an eye out for cameos that connect the Happy Madison film universe together. That’s My Boy is not the greatest Adam Sandler film ever but at least it begins to wash away the awful stain that was Jack and Jill. Overall I give it two and a half potatoes out of four.