Judd Apatow’s trenchant Funny People should have shamed Adam Sandler off appearing in idiotic, high-concept schlock by casting him as a rich, bored, unmistakably Sandler-like movie star who makes moronic romps because he hates himself and his audience in equal measure. Instead, Sandler has seemingly doubled down on his commitment to pandering to his audience’s crudest instincts, stopping just short of hiring his coterie of writer pals to transform the fake movies his character made in Funny People into genuine Adam Sandler vehicles.
That’s My Boy casts a shaggy Sandler as an ostensibly charming, sexually irresistible degenerate who has stumbled drunkenly through a life of sordid fame after knocking up his insanely hot teacher while still a boy in his early teens, a development the film depicts as both innately hilarious and an awesome adolescent fantasy straight out of a Van Halen video. With the mother in jail for statutory rape, Sandler is given custody of the product of their illicit union, played later by Andy Samberg, who’s creatively neutered playing an uptight white Urkel of a character. After turning 18, Samberg distances himself from his father and his tacky tabloid heritage to become an uptight businessman on the verge of marrying a scolding Leighton Meester. Sandler re-enters his son’s life after a prolonged absence on his wedding weekend, seeking money to pay off a debt, and a little bonding, reconciliation, and forgiveness in the process.
At least give That’s My Boy credit for fully earning its R rating. The film represents the horny, stoned, drunk id lurking behind the freshly scrubbed shenanigans of the Happy Madison brand. That’s My Boy is shameless, enthusiastic, and terminally unoriginal in its vulgarity, vomiting forth an endless string of incompetently staged and executed gross-out setpieces involving the lusty libidos of the morbidly obese, mulleted, and elderly, most notably in the form of a running gag involving Sandler’s sexual hunger for a sassy grandmother. The film is such a barren comic wasteland of scatology and misogyny that Vanilla Ice steals the film with a good-natured, self-deprecating portrayal of himself as Sandler’s sleazy party buddy. With That’s My Boy, Sandler goes from making puerile kiddie comedies to a glorified Playboy Party Joke of a movie. That’s not progress: That’s an ugly, unappealing form of eternal adolescence.