It's a testament to the box-office power of Adam Sandler that, even after talking Al Pacino into co-starring in a stinker like “Jack and Jill,” Sandler still has enough money to get Susan Sarandon and James Caan to make an even worse comedy with him.
“That's My Boy” is an excruciatingly awful movie.
It's not just that it's the lowest kind of coarse, juvenile, smutty humor, the kind that often made a preview audience groan or sit in stunned silence. It's that, as with “Jack and Jill,” Sandler seems to be getting increasingly tone-deaf about what is funny.
And his attempts at shocking his audience are growing ever more shrill.
In “That's My Boy,” Sandler plays the adult version of Donny Berger, a middle school student who impregnates his teacher. Donny becomes a wealthy celebrity, while his teacher goes to prison. His son, whom he names Han Solo, is delivered into his care at age 18.
Flash forward 25 years. Donny has grown into a bottom feeder and will be jailed for unpaid taxes if he can't cough up $43,000 in a week.
His wimpy son (Andy Samberg) has fled, changing his name to Todd Peterson and becoming a wealthy hedge fund manager. Todd is about to wed Jamie (Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”), a gold digger who pushes him around and doesn't know about his past.
A TV talk show host offers Donny $50,000 if he can get Todd to show up at Mom's prison for a live family reunion. So Donny tracks Todd down and mucks up all the wedding-week events while wheedling his way back into the kid's life.
Typical of Sandler, the cracks about being fat, gay, old or ethnic start early.
“My staff is (expletive) lucky to be in this country,” Todd's obnoxiously rich boss (Tony Orlando) says of the Hispanics and Asians who run his mansion. “So feel free to abuse the (expletive) out of them.”
The gags about bodily excretions, unseemly sexual acts (Grandma likes Donny) and a stream of urination jokes follow not long after that.
Besides an obese black stripper wearing little more than pasties, Vanilla Ice, as himself, is Donny's best pal. It kind of makes sense that two infamous punchlines would hang together.
It makes less sense that Sarandon would agree to play the older version of Donny's teacher, or that Caan would appear as the Irish Catholic priest who is to officiate at the wedding, if he can get past his anger issues.
Throw in Will Forte as Samberg's nerdy best man and Milo Ventimiglia posing as Jamie's gung-ho Marine brother, and you've got a movie.
As usual, Sandler plays a king-size jerk, then asks us to pity him for being rejected because, underneath all that insensitivity, crudeness and irresponsibility, he has a good heart.
To paraphrase someone who fell for a more redeemable jerk: Donny, you lost me at hello.
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