That's My Boy
Over the past decade, Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison production company have delivered many films. Some have exceeded critics and audience’s expectations (Reign Over Me, Funny People) while others can be classified as guilty pleasure at best (Grandma’s Boy). Sandler’s current offering That’s My Boy errs very far in the latter direction, but as far as this critic is concerned, that is fine, because this film is the ultimate guilty pleasure.
Sandler plays Donny, a washed up proto-reality star who rode an affair with his 8th grade teacher and her subsequent pregnancy into the limelight. The teacher, Mary McGarricle, carries the child to term, and Donny is forced to raise him. We fast forward to the present day where Donny has done nothing but booze and party his way into trouble with the IRS. Now Donny feels that the only way to get right is to regain the trust of his now adult son Todd (Samberg), who happens to be a rising star in the investment-banking world and getting married this weekend to Jamie (Leighton Meester).
The film is terribly inconsistent, suffering from extreme ups and downs in quality. When it is bad, it is cringe worthy, but when it hits, there are some uproariously funny moments. The film’s intro depicting the teenage antics of Donny and his reverse Lolita odyssey packs the most laughs I have had in a film all summer. Unfortunately, the laughs lag quite a bit in the middle of the film until the wedding subplot comes in to full swing. Sandler carries on in his usual man-child shtick, which, oddly enough, does not feel completely out of place in the film. Andy Samberg proves adequate at delivering his lines and contributing to the comic flow of the film. Leighton Meester is tolerable as the bridezilla/controlling fiancée, though that is the extent of her contribution to the film.
Ardent fans of Sandler and Happy Madison’s productions will no doubt be very satisfied at this new film. More surprising, though, is the fact that non-fans may be caught off guard at how much they might laugh if they end up seeing the film. Most have probably made up their minds about this film based on exactly what it is, an Adam Sandler film, which can automatically be a positive or negative depending on one’s taste. But this film provided me with just enough unexpected fun to tell others it warrants a try—even if you are not the Sandler faithful.