* (out of four)
This week's second-worst movie to feature Def Leppard's “Rock of Ages,” “That's My Boy” opens with the 1980s rock song but spends much more time amused by the '90s. Ian Ziering! Ricky Martin! Vanilla Ice laying on the ground, urinating into the air and saying, “Look at me, I'm a fountain!” If you're groaning, don’t expect to stop.
Ruining any jokes that might be funny with his bizarre baby voice, Adam Sandler plays Donny, a disturbingly unbalanced man-child who carries a Budweiser everywhere but only smacks people over the head with Rolling Rock. (Hello, alcoholism- and violence-related product placement.) This guy has somehow turned the act of sleeping with his junior high math teacher into several years of fame and fortune, since we all surely remember the names and fascinating backstories of all the real-life teenagers statutory raped by their educators.
Despite that fool-proof career plan, Donny now has less than no money. His ex (Eva Amurri Martino) is serving a 30-year sentence and a he has a $43,000 debt to the IRS that may soon send him in there with her. The only hope for this guy, who has actually gotten dumber in the years since his older girlfriend made obscene gestures during his bar mitzvah, is to reconnect with estranged son Han Solo—an uptight hedge fund manager living under the name Todd (Andy Samberg) about to marry Jamie (Leighton Meester)—and deceptively coordinate a family reunion at the women's prison to tape for reality TV.
“That's My Boy” actually features more laughs than recent Sandler disasters (“Just Go With It,” “Jack and Jill”), but the valleys descend so low that the movie's worst bits destroy the curve. Written by “Happy Endings” creator David Caspe but coated in Sandler's trademark racism and misogyny, this comedy finds nothing funnier than semen, overweight people and the sexualization of the elderly. Samberg generates a few chuckles as the maladjusted Todd, but the movie—surprise surprise—mostly lets Sandler have all the fun. Donny’s the loudmouth surrounded by gorgeous women, when he’s not hanging with his plus-plus-size stripper friend who eats mid-dance. The jokes written to acknowledge Todd's unsatisfactory upbringing merely involve his inability to ride a bike and a traumatizing experience pooping his pants. And, inevitably, that he used to be fat.
Seemingly cast by someone who'd rather be browsing ESPN, “That's My Boy” features New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, reporter/“Dancing with the Stars” contestant Erin Andrews, a brief role for New York Knick Baron Davis and another significant part for Dan Patrick, appearing in his seventh Sandler film because actual comic actors must be too expensive. Or because the purpose remains merely to let Sandler amuse himself, say stuff like “tickle my pickle” and call it a day.
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