Before I saw “That’s My Boy,” I asked a friend: “What was the last decent movie Adam Sandler made, ‘Fifty First Dates?’” That question, I am sad to report, is one that can still be asked.
Not that “That’s My Boy” doesn’t have some funny stuff. It does. But this is a bad movie with too much business going on. Could an editor have made the movie better by cutting out, say, 25% of the movie? Yes. That would make it 25% less painful.
Sandler plays a ne’er-do-well named Donnie who, as a high school kid, fathered a baby with a Mary Kay Letourneau type teacher. The teacher went to prison and Sandler’s character eventually got custody of the baby. He was a horrible father—so bad that the son changed his name when he grew up and cut off all connection.
After being notified by his attorney that he needs money to pay back taxes, Donnie sees his son’s photo in the paper. The son, played by Andy Samberg, is now wealthy and about to get married. Donnie crashes back into his son’s life and becomes a big part of the wedding weekend.
The movie is rife with crude, raunchy humor. The most uncouth character, of course, is Sandler’s Donnie.
Among the supporting cast are NY Jets coach Rex Ryan as Donnie’s attorney, sports anchor Dan Patrick as a Jerry Springer type talk show host, Tony Orlando as Samberg’s boss, Vanilla Ice as one of Donnie’s old friends, James Caan as a priest, Susan Sarandon as the modern day version of the teacher and SNL’s Will Forte as one of Samberg’s co-workers. Sandler takes a huge artistic risk with this movie by NOT including his buddy Rob Schneider in the cast.
There are scenes in the movie that are designed to shock and they do. Sadly, there are numerous elements in the movie that are designed to be funny and they are not. Too many misses in a movie that’s too long bring “That’s My Boy” down to D level. That’s “D,” as in, “don’t.”