Incest and statutory rape are among the topics lampooned in That's My Boy, another lousy comedy from Adam Sandler, who continues to digress as an actor. Sandler plays Donny Berger, a burnout who impregnated his teacher when he was fourteen. Twenty-eight years later, Donny pops up to annoy his grown, soon-to-be-wed son, in hopes of scoring a quick paycheck. That's My Boy is too dumb to be offensive, and ninety-five percent of the jokes fall flat. Sandler adopts an ear-splitting Bah-stuhn accent and gets plenty of female attention despite his jean shorts and unwashed hair. That's My Boy's only trick is how anyone got Andy Samberg, Susan Sarandon and James Caan to appear in this mess.
Fourteen-year-old Donny (Justin Weaver) begins an inappropriate relationship with his smokin' hot teacher, Mary McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino). A pregnant Mary gets sent to prison, leaving Donny to raise their son, Han Solo Berger (Andy Samberg). Han Solo ends contact with Donny when he reaches eighteen, and changes his name to Todd Peterson. Donny racks up a huge debt with the IRS and decides to orchestra a jailhouse meeting between Todd and Mary for an entertainment journalist so that he can repay the IRS. Donny finds his son preparing to wed Jamie (Leighton Meester), and learns that Todd tells everyone his parents died in a car crash.
That's My Boy is the worst kind of Adam Sandler movie. The jokes are dated and unfunny, and even the R rating fails to give Sandler incentive to try something new. The premise is actually decent, and, while That's My Boy isn't looking to start a serious debate on statutory rape vs. a teenage boy's fantasy, there are worse beginnings to a Sandler movie than Amurri Martino behaving very badly. It's when the lovechild grows up that That's My Boy truly jumps the rails. The elder Donny is such an obnoxious, unfunny character that everything else evaporates under his stupidity. The film gets Donny laid like some redneck Casanova, and reveals that Han Solo/Todd is a nervous, scarred adult thanks to his less-than-stellar upbringing. That's My Boy moves forward with one unfunny gag and dated celebrity reference after another. By the time Vanilla Ice shows up for an extended cameo, I could scarcely remember the Sandler of Billy Madison.
What else isn't funny about That's My Boy?. The extended joke about yelling "WHAAAAASSSUUUUP." The bro-tastic chest puffing of Jamie's brother Chad (Milo Ventimiglia). Jamie's grandma (Peggy Stewart) having sex with Vanilla Ice. Luenell as a plus-sized stripper who gives Donny advice. The film's 114-minute running time, which feels at least twice as long. Sarandon and Caan have cameos late in the film, and I couldn't help but feel sad that such fine actors were suckered into appearing in this train wreck. Sandler's audience has grown up a lot since his early films. Perhaps Sandler should, too.
Wouldn't you know it, That's My Boy looks amazing on Blu-ray. Sony's 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer positively sparkles. Detail is amazing, colors are vibrant and backgrounds are endless. This digitally shot film is sharp and grain free, with strong black levels and not a hint of compression artifacts or banding.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is effective and nicely balanced. Dialogue is clear and strong, and the track features a number of ambient and action effects. Clarity is good, and the subwoofer supports the film's score and some comedic pratfalls. A French 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also included, as are English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This single-disc release comes in an Elite Blu-ray case and includes a code to stream an UltraViolet digital copy. Extras include a Gag Reel (6:07/HD) and Deleted Scenes (13:55/HD). Who Are All These People? (10:51/HD) spotlights some of the cast, while Greetings From Cape Cod (6:47/HD) provides on-set footage. The extras conclude with Classy Rick's Bacon and Eggs (5:49/HD), a featurette about the strip club in the film.
As a reviewer, I'm not so jaded that I can't enjoy a good raunchy comedy. Little offends me, and I welcome the chance for Adam Sandler to let loose in an R-rated film. That's My Boy just isn't funny. Sandler's man-child character once fathered a son with his teacher, and Sandler returns to exploit said son on his wedding day. The jokes are as stale as last week's bread, and Sandler seems to have completely stopped trying to be a better actor. Skip It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.