Last year, Adam Sandler burdened the world with “Jack and Jill,” quite possibly the worst comedy ever conceived. That debacle of humor hit a new low at the Razzies, winning every single award. I myself named “Jack and Jill” the absolute worst picture of 2011, branding it with the irredeemable grade of zero. “That’s My Boy” is another spectacularly awful feature from Sandler and company. As bad as the film is, it doesn’t sink quite as low as “Jack and Jill.” But that’s like saying a solitary shot to the head is better than multiple shots to the head.
Donny Berger is a cocky preteen punk who wants to bag his sexy teacher, Ms. McGarricle. In the spirit of Mary Kay Letourneau, McGarricle is into Donny as well. They have an affair and are caught in the act at a school assembly. McGarricle gets pregnant and is sentenced to 30 years in prison. When Donny turns 18, he will assume custody of their baby. Until then, Donny sells the rights to his story and makes millions off his made-for-television movie.
These opening scenes, while in bad taste, do show some potential. In the possession of superior filmmakers, maybe a really dark, edgy comedy about child molestation could have been made. “South Park” for example, produced a hilarious episode centered on this subject matter. With Sandler at the helm though, it’s the obvious, lamebrain middle school humor you’d expect. The film really isn’t about Donny and his inappropriate relationship with Ms. McGarricle anyways. It’s about Donny and his son, who he names Han Solo.
Donny grows up to be an irresponsible drunk played by Sandler. His only friend is Vanilla Ice, in one of his most embarrassing, pointless screen roles since “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.” After blowing through his millions, Donny now owes the IRS thousands of dollars. A sleazy television executive will loan the money to Donny if his son and him visit Ms. McGarricle in prison for a TV reunion. Donny tracks down his estranged son, played by an uncomfortable Andy Samberg, who has changed his name to Todd. This just happens to be the same weekend that Todd is marrying his bossy fiancé, played by Leighton Meester. What shenanigans could possibly ensue from the vulgar Donny interacting with his son’s upper class, snobbish friends and bosses?
“That’s My Boy” is the typical Sandler movie from this point on. There are bodily gags, jokes about banging old ladies, product placement, physical injuries, sentimental moments that aren’t earned, and the horrifically untalented Nick Swardson in a supporting role. Is anything in the movie funny? There is one cameo from Susan Sarandon that merits a moment of amusement. That’s it.
For it’s first two acts, “That’s My Boy” is merely a bad Sandler movie. In the final act though, the film becomes inexplicably appalling with a grotesquely unfunny twist. I won’t spoil what happens, but it’s out of left field, utterly unnecessary and vomit inducing. It’s like an insane person who is completely out of touch with society took over the screenplay. What were they thinking?
It should also be noted that the movie is rated R where most of Sandler’s movies stick to PG-13 territory. This makes leeway for much more raunchy, gross-out humor. The R-rating probably works to the film’s disadvantage though, since nobody under 12 could possibly find “That’s My Boy” to be funny. In that sense, the film isn’t marketable to any audience. Hopefully, this means that nobody will be unfortunate enough to see it.
Ahwatukee native and Desert Vista graduate Nick Spake is a student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.