That’s My Boy
Despite the awful premise, predictable characters, and cliche story arch “That’s My Boy” manages to still deliver a handful of hearty sophomoric laughs. Although it’s not saying very much this is quite possibly the best Sandler outfit in virtually years, which still ranks it somewhere between unwatchable and merely mediocre.
Perhaps, given his recent output, this is the directional push that Sandler was looking for. “Jack and Jill” practically swept the Razzies, “Just Go With It” stands to be one of the worst romantic comedies in recent memory, and lest we forget the much maligned “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”? Yet, “That’s My Boy” has one singular factor that sets it apart from Sandler’s recent garbage heap of a filmography, and that is SNL star Andy Samberg.
Amidst the grandma fornicating, incest, masturbation gags,and overall amateurish nonsense Samberg remains the much needed comedic anchor of the film. When Sandler is left to his own devices the overall nature of his films seem to suffer greatly (ie his disturbingly bad Glen or Glenda performance in “Jack and Jill”). Samberg added a refreshing youthfulness to the film that has been sorely lacking in Sandler’s films since his vintage 90’s era. Moreover, “That’s My Boy” is also a proverbial passing of the slapstick torch from one SNL alum to another.
Samberg is very much so Sandler-esque in everything from his delivery to his overall mannerisms. It would be easy to reference “That’s My Boy” as a protege out-performing his teacher, but Samberg is merely the complimentary piece that Sandler so desperately has been needing. As the title would suggest, the plot centers around a shameful father (Sandler) and his emotionally dysfunctional son (Samberg) as they try to mend their tattered relationship.
Sandler plays Donny Berger, who as a teenager became infamous for impregnating his teacher. Samberg aka Han Solo Berger (I couldn’t make that up) is the product of their taboo relationship. In an attempt to cut all ties with his past and drop his only remaining connection with his father, Han changes his name to Todd Peterson. Once reunited, Donny finds himself in the position of having to win back the trust of his over-anxious panic stricken son. Donny is basically a mishmash of every Sandler cliche ever conceived. He’s a beer guzzling, stripper loving, 1980’s caricature.
The father and son duo are purposefully in direct juxtaposition with one another. Unfortunately, their tumultuous relationship is extremely contrived and very soon wears thin on the plot. As is expected, Han eventually shows signs of being a regular chip off the old block and the duo eventually form a bond. As ham-fisted as the overall plot is, Samberg is unnervingly charming in his portrayal of the hapless spawn of a pedophilic relationship. Sandler’s performance is predictably heavy-handed, but even some of his jokes seemed to land for me.
The screenplay, while admittedly targeted towards teenage boys, is leaps and bounds ahead of any of Sandler’s previous efforts. Of course, it’s all a matter of perspective, especially when you’re comparing a movie to the likes of “Grown Ups”. That is to say, “That’s My Boy” simply scrapes by on it’s prodigiously cliche laurels. It’s a basic sum of it’s simplistic parts, but certainly not a comedic standout of 2012.
In way of special features, the blu ray includes a plethora of goodies. As to be expected, there’s a gag reel and deleted scenes, but there is also a special feature detailing the laundry list of cameos that the movie sports. Last and definitely least, there’s a behind the scenes look at the strip club which is anything but “special” in terms of a feature.
Film: 2.5 Yaps
Extras: 3 Yaps