Sunday, June 17, 2012
That's My Boy: An Average Tasting Berger
Donny is a guy who is stuck in the past: with a shaggy haircut, shouting the '90's staple "Wassssssssssssssuuupppp!!!" to anyone within fifty feet, he's like an aging rocker whose mind never left the glory days. You always see Mark Wahlberg force his Boston accent in every film he's in. There's no telling if Sandler is forcing his version, as it's usually slurred or screamed due to his incredibly drunken state. "20's my limit", he states, in one of the best lines of the film. You can say that Sandler surely is committed to this role: he never falters, never gives into normalcy, always in a state of semen and beer-filled bliss, masturbating as often as cracking a new beer. Anybody who lived his childhood might end up like this: when Donny was 12, the time in his life when seeing a vagina in Playboy was more important than eating or breathing, his 22-year-old luscious-breasted teacher, Ms. McGarricle (Eva Amurri) seduced him into an affair, causing a pregnancy and eventually a jail sentence (for her). It also causes Donny to become a quasi-celebrity, a Kardashian with a cock who reaches a level of relevance on par with Vanilla Ice (who plays a small, useless role later in the film).
This sexy teacher eventually gave birth to their son, who Donny named Han Solo (Andy Samberg). Once Han Solo reached a certain age, though, he left home due to Donny's parenting skills (having to drive Donny's drunken body around at a young age, among other reasons). He also picked up a new name, Todd, to not attract unwanted attention about being the fetus of a statutory rape case. Todd falls in love and becomes a hedge(hog)fund manager, and when Donny realizes that he owes over $40,000 dollars to the IRS, he decides to crash his long-lost son's wedding weekend.
That's My Boy was directed by Sean Anders, the writer of 2010's great comedy, Hot Tub Time Machine. One could conceivably pose a question: what is it about Hot Tub that makes it superior to Adam Sandler's latest effort? For one, Hot Tub is more real. That might seem like a funny statement, since the film is about a group of friends travelling back in time by sitting in a bubbling hot tub and getting wasted. But the characters, with their real life problems, their real life loves and losses, and their real life nostalgia present an entirely plausible group of friends who try and recapture a part of their lives that they wish they could have lived differently--Something anyone can relate to. The humor was less forced, the actors far superior.
By the end of That's My Boy, before the obvious resolution occurs, the film overstays its welcome. The outcome becomes predictable, and the humor becomes phoned in. I half expected Rob Schneider to pop up and scream, "You can do it!" Waiting for the movie to be over will be a common reaction (especially since it's nearly 2 hours long). At this point in time, Adam Sandler films (at least the films where he doesn't act outside of his comfort zone) have become their own genre, a bumbling, gibberish-speaking, fart-joke filled foray into the nether regions of cinema. That's My Boy doesn't come close to being as horrible as his more recent efforts, as critics and haters would lead you to believe. However, for every joke there's an eye roll, and for every plot twist there's a yawn. (C+)