Reporting Bill Wine
By Bill Wine
Call it the Trash Trifecta.
With Grown-Ups, Jack and Jill, and now That’s My Boy, star, producer, and sometimes writer Adam Sandler has completed his unintentional trilogy of atrocious, amateurish, truly detestable comedies in three years.
With Hollywood as his sandbox, Sandler plays a man-child (his specialty, for the umpteenth time) and employs a chalk-on-the-blackboard voice for no discernible reason.
The result? Once again -– despite the occasional admirable work he has done as an actor in movies produced by other people, such as Punch-Drunk Love, Funny People, and Reign Over Me -– he makes us want to revoke his moviemaking license.
The R-rated That’s My Boy couldn’t possibly be any more aggressively tasteless or unfunny.
Sandler is Donny Berger -– apparently irresistible to just about everyone in the movie, especially the women, but completely abhorrent to us — who fathered a son, Todd, played as a grownup by Andy Samberg (the performer carrying on the Sandler tradition on TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) when he was 13 years old, a result of his inappropriate May-November relationship with his teacher. She’s played by Eva Amurri-Martino (the real-life daughter of Susan Sarandon, who stops by to play an older version of the character).
The court, in all its wisdom, awards Donny custody when his son is 18. But disgraced Donny has become a celebrity in the bargain, selling his life story for big bucks, then frittering away his fortune and owing the IRS big-time.
And, yes, the IRS wants its money.
Now he has a chance to make a financial killing and get out of moolah trouble.
Which is why, at age 41, he shows up unannounced at the wedding of his son, who has grown up and become an insecure adult but a successful hedge fund manager and is engaged to a social climber played by Leighton Meester.
Director Sean Anders (Sex Drive, Never Been Thawed) is saddled with the task of working from a raunchy-for-the-sake-of-raunchy, equal-opportunity-offensive, self-serving (for Sandler) script by David Caspe, the creator of TV’s “Happy Endings,” that is mean-spirited and hateful in its lowest-common-denominator lust for cheap laughs and gross-out lowlights.
But it’s Anders’ lazy, uninspired, gee-ain’t-we-funny style that helps just about the entire informal ensemble to embarrass themselves, including James Caan and, in a cavalcade of pointless stunt casting, such celebrity non-actors as Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, Dan Patrick, Rex Ryan, and Ciara.
Their credentials? Presumably, that they know Sandler.
This lewd and lowbrow lark, two hours of comedy that feels like a five-hour root-canal procedure, was originally titled I Hate You, Dad, which was then changed to Donny’s Boy before becoming That’s My Boy.
So we’ll hold our nose while we open half a star out of 4. That’s my review and I’m sticking with it. Title it, “I hate you, That’s My Boy.”