That’s My Boy is a 114-minute reminder that the new age of comedy creators mistakenly take its audience for brain dead zombies who can only laugh at the most rudimentary of jokes. In a utopian world, an Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg pairing almost, but not quite, rivals the potential greatness of a film featuring Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James. Then again, Grown Ups, the film that did team-up those comedic greats, proved that matching famed comics doesn’t necessarily make for a great movie. Alas, what happened to the days of Trading Places, where smart humor demanded to be watched and rewatched?
The best part of That’s My Boy comes in the first ten minutes, which shows an adolescent Donny getting seduced by his gorgeous teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). Seeing children in adult situations typically succeeds through its comical innocence. In true double-standard fashion, Donnie becomes a hero to everyone from his peers to his teachers. It would have been quite the opposite had Donnie been a girl and his teacher a guy. That’s just dirty. Donnie becomes an overnight Kim Kardashian celebrity, while his teacher is sent off to jail.
Once Donny grows up into Sandler, you realize that the film has prematurely “blown its load” just like the litany of simple-minded jokes that follow. Sandler’s piss-poor Boston accent is akin to the sound of fingers screeching against a chalkboard. His affected accent is a constant distraction throughout the movie just like the needless use of washed up stars from yesteryear, such as Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges (Willis from Diff’rent Strokes) playing themselves. It’s great that Ice and Bridges are getting work, but the film tried to mock their fallen-off careers to little success. Hearing Ice say, “Whatchu talking ‘bout Willis,” would be fine in a Funny or Die sketch, but not in a film.
Samberg stars as Todd, Donnie’s estranged son and lovechild of Donnie’s adolescent relationship with his. In order to pay taxes and avoid going to jail, Donnie must reunite his son with his mother, who is still locked up, for a TV reunion special. Samberg tries to play the straight-laced financial nerd, in contrast to Donny’s beer-drinking hobo demeanor, to little success. Instead of awkward funny, Samberg just looks uncomfortable on screen. Truthfully, this role needed a Jonah Hill to take the reigns and add authenticity.
Donnie reconnects with his son for the first time in several years, just before his son is about to get married to Jamie (Leighton Meester). Right away, you know that this marriage wasn’t meant to be. Todd can’t do multiplication in public without making a beep-boop-beep-boop sound, nor can he go anywhere without extra underwear.
The abysmal comedy flick is filled with overweight strippers, racial and masturbation jokes, which get tired just as quickly as Sandler’s accent. The only joke that lasts is a running gag about Donny always having a beer in-hand during the most random situations.
That’s My Boy may have an R rating but it’s clear that this film is targeted towards pre-college teens. Sandler needs a reboot to his career and it won’t come by doing the same shtick that worked more than a decade ago.