For some reason that critics can't quite explain, audiences love Adam Sandler. It's rare that any of his films are highly endorsed from a critical standpoint but he's a bankable star for studios because his films come with a high return on investment. So, what is it about his movies that make us want to watch? The script is usually terrible when it's not funny; the story is boring when it's not funny. Everything about an Adam Sandler movie from his buddies that would otherwise be unemployed, his terrible impersonations of people, and pretty much everything else about every single film he's been in would indicate that he should not be making movies, much less be a sought after star. Could it be that we truly enjoy watching train wrecks and just cannot look away? Perhaps, deep down in places we don't like to talk about we want Adam Sandler to keep making movies, we need him to make movies.
If there's anything that Sandler is good at, it's making people laugh. It's not always on point but the laughs are there. He knows his audience and as a master comedian craftsman is able to target that group and at least leave a mark. That's My Boy is the perfect example. It's an R-rated comedy that's for adults. It's not for teens and definitely not for kids. It's for the crowd that quotes The Hangover and other Scott Phillips comedies. Scott Phillips has nothing to do with this film but it's written and directed in the same vain. The point I'm trying to make is that if you like comedies of that genre then this is your movie for 2012.
That's My Boy is the story of Donny who fathered a son with his math teacher when he was in his teens. He named his son Han Solo and raised him as a single parent until his 18th birthday when Han Solo cuts off all communication, disappears, and changes his name to Todd Peterson. Todd (played by SNL alum Andy Samberg) goes on to become a successful investment banker and his world comes crashing down when Donny shows up on the weekend of his wedding. Donny has his hidden reasons for showing up but as he tries to reconnect with his son he is forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.
What's s brilliantly funny about this film is that Donny is stuck in the 90's everything from his hairstyle to his musical tastes to his best friend Vanilla Ice. Yes, Vanilla Ice is actually the funniest person in this movie. What character does he play? Vanilla Ice. They even bring out the 5.0 that he was rollin' in with the ragtop down so his hair could blow in the song that made him famous Ice Ice Baby.
That's My Boy was surprisingly very funny. I told people that there was no way I was going to see this movie. I might even pretend it's not out and hope it goes away. Admittedly, when the studio offered a screening, I took it as a chance to sleep in on Saturday so I reluctantly attended and I am so glad that I did. As absurd and vulgar as the movie is, it does have a little charm to it. I realize towards the end of the films that as terrible a father as Sandler's character was to Andy Samberg's, he was doing what he thought was best and at the end of the day, he wanted his son to be happy and lead a good life.
That's My Boy is just under 2 hours long and is rated-R. Let me say that again, That's My Boy is rated-R. I think it's his first R-rated comedy, at the very least it's his most vulgar comedy. Do not take your kids. Don't say to yourself "Oh, they love Adam Sandler movies" or "Grownups was great! Let's take the family". Don't do it! It's not for kids! On the other hand, it was very funny. I give it 7 stars out of 11.
Also, this week is the musical movie Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise who actually sings. I can't attest to how good it will be but that might pique your curiosity just enough to check it out.
Next week, the Pixar film Brave, about a young Scottish princess who wants to change her destiny, the comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starring Kiera Knightley and Steve Carrell, and also Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's exactly about what the title suggests and I can't wait to see it.