That’s My Boy: Like Father, Like Son

by Kaitlin Reilly June 15, 2012 6:00 am
<i>That’s My Boy</i>: Like Father, Like Son

Adam Sandler's latest film That's My Boy centers around Donny Berger, whose illicit after-school affair with his totally hot teacher lands his paramour in prison and leaves Donny with their baby. Of course, because Adam Sandler is incapable of playing a not-terrible parent in everything (except for the pretty forgettable film Spanglish), his son "Han Solo" moves out as soon as he turns 18 (at which point he's grown up to look like Andy Samberg), changes his name to Todd and becomes a big shot in the financial world. And because Todd had to deal with 18 whole years of what we in the real world refer to as "child neglect and endangerment" (Todd develops diabetes after ballooning up from a diet of lollipops and cake and has to drive his drunk Dad home from nightly benders before he reaches fifth grade), he's developed an anxiety disorder and major attachment issues. He's also totally ditched dear old Dad and keeps his real identity a secret from everyone, including his fiancée Jamie (Leighton Meester).

Not surprisingly, Donny's not going to stay a secret for long and decides to find his son the weekend of Todd's wedding in order to patch up their relationship. While Donny has missed Todd over the years, his real reason for initiating a reconnection is so Todd can help him get the 50 grand he needs in order to stay out of jail. (Apparently 13-year-old media sensations can blow through their book deal money pretty quickly...) Hijinks ensue, semen jokes are made, various celebs make cameos -- it's nothing we haven't seen from Adam Sandler before, only this time it's about a billion times more awkward. If you're thinking about taking your old man to see this flick on Father's Day, you've been warned. Here are some of the things that you'll see in That's My Boy.

Hey, Statutory Rape Is Pretty Funny!
So, those trailers were pretty funny, right? Thirteen-year-old Donny is shown ogling his young, pretty math teacher (played by Susan Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri Martino) and then appears in a courtroom whit his very pregnant teacher in an orange jump suit. While the implications are pretty disturbing (mostly because Donny looks no older than 12), the trailers showed us just enough so that we're laughing without feeling remarkably uncomfortable. The film itself doesn't really care what makes you uncomfortable as much as it cares about making you laugh out of pure shock. Look, when a 13-year-old actor (who, on a side note, could not look any less like Adam Sandler) is shown performing a sex act with a Much Older Teacher onscreen, I'm itching to make a popcorn run until I'm completely sure that Andy Samberg will be appear instead. I'm also sure that this was the plot of last week's Law and Order: SVU and Olivia Benson found it a lot less funny.

The Older You Are, The Less I Want to See You Naked
You know what comedy trope needs to die? Younger people having sex with the elderly. Because as disturbed as I was by the whole sex-crazed relationship between Donny and his teacher, I was just as disturbed by the sexcapades involving Donny and his son's boss's 90-year-old mother. Specifically the... umm, "self-love" scene that involved an old-fashion photograph and a bed full of tissues.

Adam Sandler and His Many Voices
Donny is from Boston, though his accent is like absolutely nothing I've ever heard in Boston or anywhere, really. The film could have been about fifty percent better if Adam Sandler didn't insist on creating characters solely around how annoying their voices could be.

Unattractive Stripper Has A Heart of Gold, Sparkly Pasties and Ciara for a Daughter
For some reason, Donny is a favorite customer of a very large stripper who can throw a tennis ball without using her hands and gets served bacon and eggs while hanging upside down on the pole (because the strip club is called "Bacon and Legs" -- get it?) She's actually not a bad character when compared to Donny, but considering that Sandler's character is a pretty atrocious dude I'm not really interested in his conversations with her about his problems. What's even more awkward than watching an old stripper do her thing? Ciara's (Ciara!) painful acting. She plays the daughter whose main purpose is to feed her mom bacon while she's on the pole.

Blair Waldorf is Back
Poor Leighton Meester. After five seasons of Gossip Girl, the best film offers she's been getting are campy horror flicks (The Roommate, alongside Minka Kelly) or teen movies (Monte Carlo, alongside Selena Gomez). Her role as Jamie in That's My Boy has her basically playing another version of Blair Waldorf... if Blair Waldorf had Chet Hunter from Boy Meets World as a Dad. Of course, because women in Adam Sandler movies rarely get to be anything but psychotic, money hungry or incredibly dumb (that is, except for the ones that Sandler's character gets to be with in the end) Blair Waldorf 2.0 is a total nutcase of a fiancée who wants nothing more than to use Todd's cash to support her shopping habit and set her up comfortably for the rest of her life. She's a nightmare for most of the movie.

Andy Samberg, Saving Everything
I'm fully aware that most people consider Samberg to be one of the most annoying actors out there and I don't necessarily blame them (two words: Hot Rod), but strangely, Samberg's Todd is the most likeable part of the entire film. He's so neurotic that he pops a Xanax over losing a contact lens and constantly keeps an extra pair of underwear in his pants "just in case." He's also a "human calculator" and shows off this skill by making robot noises before spitting out an answer. While the character could have been written as a man who desperately wants to shake off his "uncool" dad, Todd's character is so not cool that Donny is the one grabbing the attention from the guests at the party instead. Watching Todd's friends criticize his behavior while worshipping Donny (he is an '80s icon, after all) makes for some of the best moments of the film.

Crazy Cameos
Vanilla Ice is in a large portion of the film, playing a version of himself that has to work at an ice rink in order to pay off the debts to Queen/David Bowie that come from playing Ice Ice Baby. Which is probably what Vanilla Ice is doing in real life actually in between taping episodes for his home improvement show on the DIY Network

Please, I Incest!
I'm not going to give this plot point away, because let's be honest -- I'd rather not talk about it. Even when I was pretty sure that was the route the film was going, I desperately wanted it to be untrue. It's funny and definitely pushes the envelope, but it might make you die on the inside a bit.

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