As the movie started to the strains of Def Leppard's Rock of Ages,
I secretly was hoping this was intentional. I had this image of Adam
Sandler discovering That's My Boy would open against that
musical this week and gleefully telling the production team he had a
great idea. Lucky for those watching the movie, it wasn't his only good
idea. It's true. Sandler has found more than a modicum of redemption
after the debacle of a tragedy we know as Jack and Jill.
Sandler stars as Donny - a screwed up guy who rose to fame and modest
fortune as a young teen when he was seduced by his sexy math teacher,
Miss McGarricle (Eva "I always thought she was pretty, but WOW in this
movie" Amurri). They were caught, she was sent to prison, and he got
custody of the lovechild.
Years later, the kid, Todd (Andy Samberg), ran out on Donny and started
a new life, including his fiancée, Jamie (Leighton Meester), and
the fast track to becoming a partner at an investment firm. However,
Donny is broke, owes over $40,000 in taxes, and will be sent to jail if
he doesn't pay within days. His only hope? A big reunion with Todd and
Miss McGarricle on the weekend of Todd's wedding.
Can Donny make the reunion happen?
Will this screw up everything in Todd's life?
That's My Boy is the funniest movie Sandler
has made since 50 First Dates. It's like the best of Sandler
has meshed with the best of the Farrelly Brothers to produce a movie
that is hilarious, pushing boundaries and sometimes crossing them with
mixed results, but delivering many more laughs than groans.
Wisely, Sandler has made some substitutions on his creative team and
forged a working relationship with director Sean Anders and writer
David Caspe that has reinvigorated him. Sure, some of the old Sandler
stand-by gags and funny voices are still present, but Caspe (one of the
brains behind TV's Happy Endings, which is equally
entertaining) and Anders have given Sandler and the cast enough
material to work with, instead of forcing the funny man to create
laughs out of nothing, which has been the case in so many of his recent
Yet, That's My Boy does suffer from some problems. You will
love the appearance of Vanilla Ice and all of the crazy antics he gets
involved with, but it feels a bit derivative of Neil Patrick Harris in Harold
and Kumar. Plus, the whole idea of a teacher seducing such a young
boy and having played for that many laughs, along with another of the
movie's twists, feels almost too creepy.
Anders and Caspe avoid any sentimentality or big life lessons, so they
deserve extra credit for that.
That's My Boy is rated R for crude sexual
content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.