Monday, June 18, 2012

Not The Best Way to Spend Father's Day: Our Review of "That's My Boy" (2012)

Directed By: Sean Anders (Sex Drive)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester
Rating: R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug use
Synopsis: In 1984, a 12-year-old Donny Berger has an illicit affair with his junior high teacher, Ms. McGarricle, that results in her getting pregnant and being sent to prison for 30 years. 28 years later, Donny (Sandler) is facing prison for owing $43,000 in taxes, and discovers his estranged son, Todd (Samberg), is a rich hedge-fund manager who’s about to get married. Donny crashes the wedding in an attempt to get his son involved in a televised reunion with his mother and turns Todd’s life upside down.
Andrew: Hello readers! Last night Sarah and I closed out Father’s Day by catching an eight o’clock showing of Adam Sandler’s latest comedy, That’s My Boy. Co-starring Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live’s The Lonely Island fame, That’s My Boy was a film we discussed in our weekly preview and were interested to see because it’s Sandler’s first hard-R comedy.
Sarah, the first thing to kind of touch on is that this is probably the raunchiest comedy Sandler has ever done. He’s been doing a lot more family-oriented fare the last decade, but even going back to his Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison days, even those weren’t THIS raunchy. There are some things that made us both go “Oh my god.”
Sarah: I was shocked by some of the things in this film, starting right from the beginning with the statutory rape set-up. I mean I knew it was coming but it appalled me even more than I thought it would. It was kind of one of those things where the audience didn’t know if they were supposed to laugh. I think that was probably the point, but at the same time it was really awkward. There are times in the entire movie where it’s awkward.
That's My Boy starts right off with a 12-year-old Donny knocking up his junior high teacher, Ms. McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino), which got to the movie to an awkward start
A: I agree, the opening scene is definitely awkward but I think it’s exactly what you said, it’s supposed to be awkward and the comedy is derived from that. And they pull it off in a way not unlike The Dictator where Sacha Baron Cohen does a lot of things that push the boundaries and you question whether it’s right or should be funny. To each his own; I thought it was a funny sequence. Obviously statutory rape isn’t funny in and of itself, but in the setting of the movie and moving the plot forward I was fine with that.
S: Yeah, I really did not like this movie. There were times that were funny but I didn’t laugh from my gut. Like when I laugh at Family Guy or stupid humor like that. But this…I chuckled but never outright laughed. I didn’t find it all that funny. I know there’s a whole juvenile guy humor…
A: It’s VERY juvenile.
S: And I’m not being a prude or stuck up, cuz I laugh at fart jokes just as much as the next girl, but this film was stupid. To the point of being obscene. And I don’t get offended at movies, but there were things in this film that offended me.
A: Like what?
S: Like what happens at the end.
A: That offended you??
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We went on a four-minute argument about this particular scene and a popular television show that uses the same thing heavily in its plot. Trust us that it got a little heated but dragged on too long, plus we didn’t want to spoil anything. So we pick up here…)
S: I just found it disgusting. It wasn’t funny. I saw it coming a mile away. And I was just like “No, no…”
A: Again, I think that’s like the opening. Obviously it’s not right, it’s disgusting.
S: I just think it’s a cop-out. I think the movie was gross enough it didn’t need to add that last thing. Like, they have strippers shooting baseballs out of places you’re not supposed to put baseballs. There’s more nudity in this movie than in Good Luck Chuck. I was just grossed out.
Here’s the only thing I liked about this movie: the cameos. I thought the cameos were perfect. Sometimes cameos don’t quite mesh with a film, but in this one they were hilarious. And one in particular that we won’t give away was too perfect, (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: skip to the end of the spoiler alert if you don’t want a particular cameo spoiled) and it just happens the actress playing Todd’s mother at an older age just happens to be as attractive as the actress playing Todd’s mother at a younger age because they’re actually mother and daughter in real-life (Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri). You look at Amurri and you can tell that she’s going to look like Sarandon does right now in 30 years. I like that they used Sarandon and not Amurri in old-age makeup. (END OF SPOILER)
A: And see I agree with your assessment the casting. And that’s something that Sandler’s movies have always seemed to do well, bit characters, supporting characters. Casting choices are normally fine. He’s loyal to a fault with people he brings into his movies sometimes, and in that vein I think the one casting misstep in this film was Nick Swardson’s (You Don’t Mess With the Zohan) character.
S: Yeah, where he was kind of handicapped?
A: Yeah. He was just unnecessary in my opinion. But Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) was pretty funny as Leighton Meester’s (Gossip Girl) brother. The grandma…
Milo Ventimiglia takes a comedic turn as Todd's soon-to-be brother-in-law, Chad, a Marine who is a little too intense
S: The football coach!
A: Oh yeah, Rex Ryan as Donny’s lawyer was pretty funny. In fact that might have been my favorite part of the whole film.
S: Yeah, because not only was he Donny’s lawyer but his character was just a die-hard New England Patriots fan. I’m looking at him like, “Why do I know this guy?” And then he’s loving up on Tom Brady and it was pretty funny.
A: So yeah, stuff like that was funny. And I didn’t’ think this film was great. I didn’t LOVE it. I found it more humorous than you did at times, because of some of the dirty things. And I don’t know why but they just hit a certain chord with me. I didn’t think all the things were great, but take the bachelor party spa trip for example. I didn’t think the massage jokes were great, but I think it was Sandler’s delivery of his lines and the other guys’ reactions.
S: I thought that pretty much every other character except for Sandler’s did a good job. I don’t like Sandler in these kinds of movies, but I like him in his cheesy rom-com type movies. I hated his accent. I thought it was a smack in the face to all Bostonians.
And I understand that there are people who love Sandler for stuff like this, but at the same time I just don’t quite get his appeal. I completely understand that you liked the jokes for what they were and that they hit you funny.
A: But not all the jokes are funny! It’s very much like The Dictator. Maybe one out of every four or five jokes was funny. I think the humor just hit me more with smaller things. How people said things, or the smaller roles like Vanilla Ice playing himself and Dan Patrick playing a sleaze-ball talk-show host. It’s like you said, it’s not a movie that gave us belly laughs. It’s NOT like 21 Jump Street, which is still the funniest movie we’ve seen this year, in my opinion at least.
Donny (Sandler) takes Todd (Samberg) to meet his old "Uncle Vani", as played by Vanilla Ice playing a version of himself. Cameos like this were some of the rare highlights in That's My Boy.
S: Yeah.
A: Let’s switch focus a little bit. Something Sandler DOES do well in his movies – and maybe not so much with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, but more recently with Grown-Ups and Just Go With It and Click, even though That’s My Boy is completely raunchy and not like those, his movies still have heart. And it might be a little cheesy, but he still finds a way where his characters…it seems to be a formula. He’s a guy who either has a temper or he’s mean or did something to screw something up but he eventually finds the fault in his ways and he’s remorseful about it. I think he does a good job of pulling on that heart string. There were plenty of times in this film where we went “Aww.”
S: Yeah, he’s pretty good at doing the loveable screw-up who makes good. But overall…I thought a lot of the raunchiness was unnecessary.
A: And I agree with you on that.
S: Too many masturbation jokes. There are a lot of penis and masturbation jokes.
A: Yes there are. I will say the thing I’m most disappointed in, and it just hit me, is that my favorite line from the trailer wasn’t in the movie. When Donny first shows up to and his son, played by Samberg, says something to the effect of “You made me your designated driver when I was 8!” And Donny comes back with “And you drove like a champ, too!” That isn’t in the movie, they switch it out for something not nearly as funny to me. The delivery of that line in the trailer was perfect and a lot of that was missing here. It was very hit or miss.
S: Yeah. I feel like it could have been better.
A: It could have been much better! It could have been shorter, tighter.
S: It could have been a little cleaner and then it would’ve been a good father-son movie to see on Father’s Day weekend. But instead it’s…I can’t imagine going to see this with a dad.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We also went on a rant for a few minutes about a couple who brought their child to this 8pm showing. The child couldn’t have been any older than 5 years old and was crying and disrupting the theatre. They were eventually escorted out of the theatre by security. We may post a version of this topic at a later date.)
So, back to the movie. Our general assessment is that it’s funny at times, but too raunchy at times and not funny enough. Just like in our review for The Dictator, when the red-band trailer for Ted is the funniest part of the movie, that’s not a good sign.
S: Yes. Overall, Andrew found it entertaining at times, Sarah did not. So maybe Netflix it, but that’s it. And only if you REALLY want to see it or are a Sandler fan. 
(Out of Five Clapboards)
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  1. Good review. You know your comedy is in trouble when Vanilla Ice, of all people, is the funniest person in the cast. I think it's time for Sandler to stop trying his hardest to still be funny and just try more dramatic roles. They always seem to work for him.

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