Even with 87.5 years to go, the 21st century may never see a stupider comedy than"That's My Boy."
After squishing around in such dubious PG-13-rated hits as "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," "Grown Ups"and "Just Go With It,"Adam Sandler's latest swings for the fences of hard-R-rated raunch, just past the outfield of rancid. Deploying a Boston dialect that makes one long for the voice he came up with for the distaff half of "Jack and Jill," Sandler plays a party-hearty punk who, at age 13, fathered a child with his sex toy of a schoolteacher. This produces a son portrayed by Andy Samberg, who quit"Saturday Night Live" for this?
Dad reenters son's life for monetary reasons: If Donny (Sandler) can't come up with $43,000 fast, he's off to prison for tax evasion. "That's My Boy" sends Donny crashing headlong into his estranged son Todd's life of wealth, privilege and good taste, just as Samberg's character is about to marry the wrong woman.
The jokes that don't target obese people, Asian-Americans and other figures of amusement involve Sandler braying, or peeing, or masturbating, or milking the sort of pathos (Donny yearns for acceptance deep down) that Sandler's ardent fans seem to like.
Working from a script by David Caspe, fledgling director Sean Anders (who co-wrote the far more buoyant"Hot Tub Time Machine") displays a barely functioning knowledge of how to set up, film and cut a sight gag. Medium shots and close-ups do not match. The camera's never in the right place. If you're going to show a hefty stripper eating sausage and eggs while dangling upside down from her pole, it needs to be cleverer than the way it's shown here. .
More so than "Rock of Ages,"even, "That's My Boy" positions itself as an "I Love the '80s" special, with supporting roles taken by Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando and others. The Sandler character is meant to be enjoyed for his pomposity-deflating boorishness, admired for his skill with the babes, pitied for his heartfelt attempts at father-son reconciliation. So what do you do if you find yourself hoping the main character will leave his own movie five minutes after it starts?
Perilously close to two hours in length, "That's My Boy" leaves the world a coarser, meaner, more arrogant place than its makers found it. Bring back "Jack and Jill."