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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: THAT'S MY BOY


Most people, including myself, can appreciate a dumb joke. Hell, every now and then they are even refreshing. But for Adam Sandler there is no such thing as too dumb a joke or too low an audience. By now I suspect that his movies are conceived by team drunken twelve year olds and afterwards typed by the laziest intern at Happy Maddison. Sandler’s movies are the lowest common denominator of humor; to which I’ll admit I laughed, though most of the time I didn’t feel good about myself afterwards. 



Sandler launched his career with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore; the characters he named his production movie for. They are the two character archetypes he has played since a child of a man that never grew up and a child of a man with anger management problems (The Wedding Singer, and Funny People being the exceptions that make the rule). Here the actor plays Donny Berger, another child man afflicted by Sandler’s trademark accent - you know, the annoying blend of brooklyn redneck and mentally handicapped pedophile. Back when sound was first introduced in the 1930s many respectable actors lost their jobs because their voices didn’t sound well on screen; it is a shame audiences don’t have that level of scrutiny anymore.

The plot involves Donny trying to reconcile with his son he fathered while still in middle school. You see Donny was one of those victims who slept with the hot teacher... in the back of the auditorium. The affair produced a son whom a thirteen-year-old father aptly named Han Solo Berger (Andy Sandberg). The moment he turned 18 Han Solo changed his named to Todd, studied business, and proceeded to make a small fortune as a hedge fund manager. This is where my suspension of disbelief broke; if an Adam Sandler character ever fathered a child the poor kid would be so broken it be a miracle if he ever learned not to wet the bed. I am still not convinced Adam Sandler ever did... and according to this movie neither did Vanilla Ice. 

Han Solo/ Todd is marrying Jamie (Leighton Meester) a rich little princess who is not beyond sleeping with the whole congregation and then some just to get her way. The wedding- for some reason- provides Donny with the perfect opportunity to reconcile with Han and get him to agree to appear in a reality show ambush with his mother, Miss McGarricle (Eva Amurri / Susan Sarandon). Unfortunately for Samberg, Meester, and everyone else in the cast, they end up being little more than victims to Sandler’s low brow humor. 

In the process of the story Sandler pokes fun at fat people, strippers, handicapped, the elderly, immigrants, every minority, washed-up celebrities, ice skaters, women, bodily fluids, the military, etc. I repeat no joke is too crude, no audience too low.  But by aiming too low Sandler ends up punching everyone in the dick. And that joke gets olds. 

Back when Happy Gilmore premiered- in the 1990s before Family Guy aired on TV and Judd Apatow broke ground with a new type of heartfelt crudity- it was somewhat refreshing to see such low blows on the big screen. Now it is just an old joke that has been told one to many times. It is no longer as funny even if it still produces a chuckle or two. 


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