That's My Boy Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

That's My Boy

    Reviewed by Andreas Wong on June 21st, 2012
    Sony
presents a film directed by Sean Anders
    Screenplay by David Caspe
    Starring:
Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton  Meester, Milo
    Ventimiglia, Vanilla Ice, Ciara and Luenell

    Running Time:
114 mins
    Rating: MA
    Released:  June 14th, 2012


6/10

 



Adam Sandler’s relevance has ebbed ever since his fierce performance in “Punch-Drunk Love” nearly ten years ago. The film has seemingly come to haunt him in more ways than one as all of his post-PDL efforts, in their desperation and confusion, have felt punch-drunk themselves. Last year was undoubtedly his worst one yet as his two films “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” (which he co-wrote and produced) and “Jack and Jill” earned him a nomination for worst screenplay and an award for worst actor respectively at the Razzies. To anyone else but Sandler, this might have bruised the ego, however, the same stubborn persistence that defines his off-colour humour also keeps him churning out new outrageous comedies and, ultimately, takes us straight to the heart of his polarising charm. Now he returns with “That’s My Boy”, a film that reveals whether he has anything left to contribute. Sandler’s new persona is Donny Berger, a broke, washed-up celebrity who became an overnight sensation, as a teen, when he impregnated his high school teacher, Mary McGarricle (Eva Amurri). Berger faces a three-year stint in prison unless he can honour his tax debts within the week. After calling on an old connection, he is given the opportunity to earn the sum if he reunites with the incarcerated McGarricle and their estranged son, Hans Solo Berger (Andy Samberg), on live television. The catch is that Hans has changed his name, become a prodigious hedge fund manager and has sought to erase his family ties. Nevertheless, Donny crashes at Hans’ house days before his upcoming wedding with the beautiful Jamie (Leighton Meester) and in time all hell breaks loose.


“That’s My Boy” imbibes the same spirit of familial dysfunction that inhabited Robert Altman’s cathartic 1978 film, “A Wedding”, except that it is made in the image of a modern-day Adam Sandler farce. Anders, like Altman, illuminates the droll aspects within virtually every single family member and exposes the shocking secrets that a few of them keep, but at the same time, he retains his own voice by portraying these subjects with warm charm instead of studied acidity. The film’s comedy is principally character-based. Hans Solo, or Todd Peterson, is a clean-cut overachiever whose luxurious lifestyle whitewashes a traumatic past filled with insecurity and disappointment. On Jamie’s side, there’s the sexually repressed mother, Helen (Meagen Fay), the macho soldier brother, Chad (Milo Ventimiglia) and the former swimsuit model grandma, Delores (Peggy Stewart). In spite of its promise, the film’s depictions of familial chaos are rarely funny due to its lack of depth, cohesion and authenticity. The critical problem is that Anders sells his characters out for cheap, empty snickers instead of developing his characters, planting bombs within their relationships and detonating them at opportune moments. The film’s only saving grace is Sandler himself, as he glues the film together. The gags he features in are hit-and-miss but they are invariably high in shock value. The film tests the audience’s resolve with crude jokes on sex, semen, excrement, incest and illegal immigrants but its playful tone fortunately tempers the awkwardness. In the end, “That’s My Boy” is a decent, charming effort that proves that Sandler has a few more tricks up his sleeve even if his lustre has almost certainly faded.






 
 



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