SNL’s Digital Shorts have become the stuff of legends, mostly because of The Lonely Island crew. In short doses, you can’t do much better. Celebrity stunt cameos, hilarious songs, and cleverness abound. But when you try to mainline that shit for two hours, you’re just going to get violently ill, throw up and curl into an assball waiting for swift merciful death. That’s My Boy. As I discussed with my colleague Grae Drake on the Popcorn Mafia podcast, Adam Sandler’s great when he’s not playing the likeable and supposedly attractive male millionaire. When he plays buffoons or gibbering idiots, that’s when we like him. (I’m clearly not acknowledging Punch-Drunk Love. It was a fluke and we need to fucking move on from this.) So That’s My Boy seemed like the second coming for Sandler. Finally, he was playing a trashy idiot at which we could all laugh. He was going to act like an asshole until finally sobering up and realizing that he needed to grow the fuck up. But this is a Happy Madison film, people. The moral we learn at the end of this fucking felch of a fable is that the best of all possible worlds is quitting your responsibilities, giving everyone the finger, and hanging around a sketchy strip club with has-beens. But to get there, we have to roll around in grandma fucking, sticky tissues, and hitting people over the head with bottles. It doesn’t even have the courtesy to be fresh dogshit, it’s freezer-burned and then reheated dogshit from all their other terrible comedies. How bad is That’s My Boy?. Rob Schneider isn’t even in it.
Sadly, That’s My Boy starts off with what would have been a terrific premise. Donny Berger (Adam Sandler) became famous after having an affair with his hot teacher (Eva Amurri Martino) in the eighth grade. He got her pregnant, and she went to prison for 30 years while he was forced to raise the child in his abusive home. It perfectly explains his arrested development, why he’s an irresponsible jackass, and why his kid might loathe him. And his son does. He changed his name from Han Solo Berger to Todd Peterson (Andy Samberg). He lost a ton of weight and became a wizard at hedge fund finance, and he’s planning to marry his
super beautiful adequate fiancée Jaime (Leighton Meester). Donny’s pissed away all his money, and he owes $43,000 in back taxes or he’ll go to jail for 3 years. Somehow’s he gotta get the money, and there’s his rich son. It seems like an elegant setup.
But then unnecessary elements get stacked on top like a toddler building a sandcastle out of feces. Donny can’t just go directly to his son, so instead he goes to see a shady Maury Povich-esque daytime television scumbag Randall Morgan (Dan Patrick). Morgan agrees to give him $50,000 if he’ll get his estranged son to go with him to the women’s prison to visit his mother and if they can videotape the whole thing. So that’s what prompts Donny to arrive unannounced to the wedding. Donny shows up with a mullet, chugging a tall boy and spewing profanity in his awful Boston accent. Seriously, it sounds like Mayor Quimby doing an imitation of Moe answering a prank call. Todd told everyone that his parents died in an explosion when he was nine, so Donny poses as his “best friend” who saved his life after Todd tried to retrieve a burrito from subway tracks. If that sounds stupid, friend, you haven’t even started walking the frittata Yellow Brick Road of numbfuckery that is this film.
I apologize if this review is incoherent and disjointed, but revisiting this film is like remembering where the bad man touched you. I refuse to blame Happy Endings scribe David Caspe or director Sean Anders, because they pretty much pulled them out of the Happy Meal box they keep their crews in. This is a Happy Madison disasterbacle, and has all the frat-farting antics you’ve come to begrudgingly inhale. Every male character is doing wacky voices, and every female character either wants to fuck Adam Sandler’s character or is a bitch. Rachel Dratch plays Will Forte’s wife — one of the best character actresses working today — and they don’t even give her a name or a chance to be awesome. Instead, they fill the film with needless stunt cameos and stunt casting. It’s easter egging for people who still egg houses. Rex Ryan (coach of the New York Jets) plays Donny’s lawyer who’s obsessed with the Patriots. Tony Orlando plays his wealthy boss. James Caan plays a priest who punches people. Ciara is in this, as a stripper’s daughter, and all she has to do is look pretty and smile. She does, so good for her! Vanilla Ice plays Vanilla Ice, alongside Todd Bridges playing Todd Bridges. Let me point this out about Vanilla Ice. If you actually listen to the lyrics of “Ice, Ice Baby,” he’s essentially gotten famous for singing a rap song where he and his friend make a wrong turn, fall to the ground and run away from drug dealers, get caught in Miami traffic, and then escape because the cops ignore their lily white asses to arrest the coked up bangers. Also, in the first three verses, he basically explains that he’s channeling some sort of nature spirit and he has no idea where it’s coming from. It’s called “Under Pressure,” Ice. Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-duh.
At least Milo Ventimiglia’s having fun. His character is almost like an improv exercise where in every scene, they add another stupid element to his performance. Alright, you’re an uptight Marine! Now, you punch yourself in the balls to psyche yourself up. Okay, now, you suck your thumb when you pass out. It gets so much stupider, and I haven’t even gotten to the jazz hands part.
All of this would be forgivable, if they had actually made a decent film. But because it’s R, they decide to just spew profanity every four seconds like they’re writing one of my fucking reviews. It’s like they were stalling by shouting, “Fuck! Fuck, dude! Fuck!” until whatever shitfaced orangutan they had chained to a Macbook finished the rest of the scene. They needlessly convolute stuff with unnecessary and awful fucking concepts, only to use a fucking dicksuck of a deus ex machina to clean up at the end. Running at nearly two hours, this could have been trimmed more readily than an errant pubic thatch. The worst sin is that in the end, the message of the film is basically, don’t grow up. Donny doesn’t see the error of his ways, because you know, he’s basically an alright guy, right, pally? Rather, Todd embraces the Han Solo Berger name, and quits his job and dumps his fiancée and decides to hang around the strip club with his dad and the rest of his idiot japery. What are they gonna do for money? Eh, fahk it, sports are on. I’m not saying everyone needed to learn a “very important lesson,” but for Christ’s sake, to insinuate that the secret to happiness is being douchebag choking to death on nostalgia and slumming with egg slurping strippers is about as responsible as opening a prom night condom packet with a cheese grater.
Then again, Grown-Ups 2 started filming. And Sandler pretty much drools blank checks which lets him stunt cast his idiot manchild friends and whatever willing stars of his formative years he can scare up. And morons will flock baaing like the sheep they are. The common folk, the normies that the studios had sent in to the screening amongst the critics, were cackling with laughter. When your co-worker comes up to you next week and shouts, “Waaazzzuuuppp?!!”, blame Sandler. When you flip past TBS and see Hulk Hogan getting fellated by Florence Henderson as Horatio Sanz pisses into a kiddie pool (probably on to an actual giggling child) in the background, you’re probably watching the next Happy Madison flick. He could have made an interesting flick, but instead he just chose to fart and piss his typical dreck. But who cares? People are paying good money to watch him say “Zabadoo!,” crush a beercan against his forehead, and masturbate to Tawny Kitaen centerfolds. Me? I’ve got a zoo membership.