Monday, July 16, 2012

That's My Boy

Complete Synopsis:

That's My Boy is content with being a belligerent vulgarian comedy that it is willing to concoct any setup, any one-liner, or any character as long as it's on par with its irredeemable crude standard. It's first fatal flaw is that it erects so many raunchy situations that it completely undermines the characters that are involved in them, which is the whole reason we laugh. We laugh not at the situations themselves, but how these characters react to them. But this is only the icing on the cake of disgust.

Such topics covered in the film are teacher-student molestation, strippers, poor parenting, child abuse, browbeating the less fortunate, incest, and many more. Only Sandler would take such heartless and degrading topics and throw them all into a film where no wit, soul, or morals can be found. They are employed with such carelessness and such a disregard for humanity that it becomes utterly revolting. The only laughs to be found come from, not a main character, but one that shows up at the end of the film (something you should expect from a Happy Madison picture). He is Abdoulaye N'gom, who was also in the Sandler produced Grandma's Boy. How come somebody didn't think to put him as one of the side characters? The story can be summed up in fragmented words such as lazy, overwritten, camaraderie, inconsiderate, offensive, demeaning, and mean-spirited, but let's focus on the plot itself. It starts out on the ever-so bright note of teacher-student molestation, where young nitwit teenager Donny Berger is happily seduced by his teacher, Miss Mary McGarricle in a closet. It results in an unexpected pregnancy, where Miss McGarricle goes to prison, and their baby is left with the teenage Donny, who can barely take care of himself, let alone another child.

Donny names the kid "Han Solo Berger," and at eighteen, the kid becomes estranged from his parents, telling people they died in an explosion, changes his name to "Todd Peterson," and begins a new life. Donny (Sandler) went on to live off a six figure deal to sell his story to a Television show, and carelessly blew all the money, forgetting that he needed to pay taxes on the earnings. Donny now owes the IRS $43,000, and winds up striking a $50,000 deal with a filthy reality show executive to get him, Todd, and his mother (currently in prison) to do a reunion event on camera. It's scummy and outlandishly selfish.

Todd is Andy Samberg, who is stunned to see Donny show up uninvited and quickly tells his wife's family that he is a close friend of his, and this leads to some contrived shouting matches between the two as to how Donny was the worst parent ever. This is true. It's a too little, too late effort, but Donny decides it's time to make nice with Todd, so he stays at their house during the wedding to reconnect with his son, while trying to conceal the fact that he's only there for money.

This is yet another Sandler film I like to dub an "anti-character" study. First off, there is hardly a likable character in the film, except for Todd, who is just a poor man's version of a neurotic success story. The character Donny comes equipped with Sandler's most horrendous accent since his character in The Waterboy, and this could very well be Sandler's worst film in years (I have not seen Jack and Jill). It aims to go for the baddest of laughs, but due to the lack of discipline, plausibility in the writing (why isn't the baby given to child services?), and the removal of heart in its material, it's a middle finger to morals and an ode to chaotic, mean-spirited circumstances.

That's My Boy inhabits a world of such cruelty to almost everyone involved. The males are incompetent caricatures, motivated by ego and greed, the women are no better than the size of their breasts and buttocks, shown in a misogynistic light almost saying that women exist to either show off parts of their body or to be ditzy, foul-mouthed bimbos, and every middle-age side character is shown as an amoral horn-dog, both men and women alike. Remember Big Daddy? One of the few Adam Sandler films sort of slanted and aimed more for children? It involved a louse who is stuck raising an illegitimate kid for his best friend. You could sort of label That's My Boy the raunchy sequel to Big Daddy, an explain it extracted the heart and sentiment out of it. But saying that would give the film more purpose than it's entitled to. It's a loathsome, painfully unfunny affront to comedy.

Kid Friendly: No
Bad Ass Factor: None
Date Friendly: Yes
Overall Rating: 1.75 out of 5 stars

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