Oh boy – That’s My Boy review

That’s My Boy – Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Leighton Meester. Directed by Sean Anders. Rated MA. By Richard Haridy.

When I was 16 years old, my younger brother and I saw Happy Gilmore at the movies twice in two weeks. We unreservedly loved the film and thought the world of Adam Sandler. A decade and a half later, I can still enjoyably watch the flick whenever it pops up on television. What happened between then and now? Did I grow up? Or did Sandler get worse? His recent run of Grown Ups, Just Go With It, and Jack And Jill are some of the laziest, most creatively vacuous pictures I’ve ever seen and, sadly, That’s My Boy shows no sign of this downward spiral stopping.

Sandler plays Donny Berger, who at age 14 had sex with his teacher, leaving her pregnant with their child. Initially becoming a celebrity (because what world wouldn’t celebrate a boy spectacularly bedding his hot teacher?), Donny is absurdly given custody of the child, christened Han Solo. Cut to 2012 and Donny is a washed up 42-year-old has-been who generates a plan to reunite with his son for a generous fee from a reality TV show.

That’s My Boy, directed by Sean Anders, is a bizarre movie that resolutely places Sandler in the role of hero despite him constantly behaving like an inappropriate douchebag. The whole narrative arc follows his son (Andy Samberg) as he comes to accept his father for the ‘life of the party’ that he is. Horrific moments include: Vanilla Ice appearing as himself, which seems to be in and of itself ‘a joke’; a climax that once and for all draws an ethical line between paedophilia (good) and incest (bad); multiple masturbation scenes; and one long montage set in a strip club that’s the single worst stretch of any film I have endured all year.

Days have passed since my viewing, and in thinking back on the experience all I feel is a deep sadness. Adam Sandler has finally become the most cynical producer in Hollywood; banging out these artistically void features year after year. There is nothing creative, amusing, valuable or interesting about his work. That’s My Boy isn’t the worst film I have ever seen; it’s just one of the saddest and most exhausting.


That’s My Boy arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia October 11, 2012.

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