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The Times
  • Movie review: Father doesn't know best in Adam Sandler's 'That's My Boy'

  • Just in time for Father’s Day comes “That’s My Boy,” the tale of a deadbeat dad (Adam Sandler) hoping to fix a broken relationship with his grown son (Andy Samberg). A heart-warming drama to share with the family? Not a chance.

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  • Just in time for Father’s Day comes “That’s My Boy,” the tale of a deadbeat dad (Adam Sandler) hoping to fix a broken relationship with his grown son (Andy Samberg).
    A heart-warming drama to share with the family? Not a chance. Especially when you peek behind the curtain to discover it’s made by Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison, which instantly identifies it as another by-the-numbers “comedy” focusing on a guy who doesn’t want to grow up.
    At least it’s not as terrible as Sandler’s last film, “Jack & Jill,” the turkey that swept the Golden Raspberries for excellence in awfulness.
    This film has all the Sandler staples: Oscar winners or nominees (James Caan, Susan Sarandon) embarrassing themselves; a bit part for pal Nick Swardson; a fascination with geriatric sex, misfit strippers and masturbation scenes played for maximum gross-out effect. At this point, Sandler is just picking the pockets of his shrinking fan base by regurgitating the same old shock and schlock. Tissues stuck to a picture frame of Grandma Delores (Peggy Stewart)? Come on. Pun intended. I enjoy a good sex joke as much as the next person, but make it original.
    Sandler and director Sean Anders (“Sex Drive”), working from a script by David Caspe (TV’s “Happy Endings”), take every teenage boy’s fantasy – sleeping with their hot teacher – and spin it forward 30 years. Sandler’s Donny Berger has squandered all the money he made selling his memoir about fathering a child with his 8th-grade math teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). She gets 30 years; his family gets custody of the kid, named Han Solo Berger. The kid flies the coop once he turns 18 and disappears. When we catch up with Donny, he’s broke and owes the IRS $43,000. A Jerry Springer-esque prison reunion show featuring the teacher (now Susan Sarandon), Han (Samburg) and Donny will earn him enough dough to get out of debt – if he can get everyone to show up.
    Donny finds Han – a successful hedge fund manager who goes by Todd Peterson – on the weekend of the kid’s wedding and inserts himself into the festivities.
    Understandably, Han has a severe case of Daddy issues. Han/Todd is a bit of a tool – socially awkward, frequently misunderstood, timid and bullied by his fiancée (Leighton Meester). He carries around an extra pair of underwear in case of an accident.
    Your enjoyment of this movie depends on your Sandler tolerance – and mine is waning. He’s really lost his funny. A New Hampshire native, Sandler delivers his lines in a wavering Boston accent and in that squeaky pitch he adopted for “The Waterboy.” Also tossed in for good measure are Vanilla Ice and former child actor (and ex-con) Todd Bridges.
    I’ll admit to laughing more than I thought I would – especially the scenes with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan calling his Bill Belichick bobblehead “my genius,” and gushing over “that jawline with just the right amount of scruff” while addressing his Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP poster.
    Page 2 of 2 - Getting hit over the head with a bottle is a running joke through the movie, and by the time the big twist is revealed you might be wishing someone would take a bottle to your noggin.
    Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com.
    THAT’S MY BOY
    (R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use PG for language and some suggestive material.) Cast includes Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg. 1 stars out of 4.
     
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