The slow death of the career of Adam Sandler continues with "That's My Boy" - a crude and vulgar comedy that aims for the lowest comedic denominator imaginable and proceeds to go even lower. Just when you thought Sandler couldn't get lower than "Jack and Jill," he's back with this dreadful bit of cinema that offends in every way possible.
Now I can take an R-rated comedy that is offensive, but "That's My Boy" also fails to be funny.
The set-up alone is creepy enough. "That's My Boy" begins in 1987 with junior high student Donny having an inappropriate relationship with his teacher (Eva Amurri Martino) resulting in the teacher going to prison, but not before she has a son.
Flash forward to modern day and Donny (played by Sandler) is now a Boston slacker getting by on his notoriety from the incident. He's also estranged from his son Todd (Andy Samberg), who is about to marry Jamie (Leighton Meester). Donny learns of the wedding and sets out to reconnect with his son, while also hatching a plan with a reality TV show to help him make enough money to pay off a tax debt.
Student/teacher relationships are a taboo subject, but I'm not going to say there couldn't be a way someone could play it for laughs in a film (although it would be very hard to pull off). "That's My Boy" is not that film. It also doesn't help that this is actually a springboard for a series of gags that builds to a revelation that may actually be more disturbing.
Not even a cameo from Susan Sarandon can help bring this out of the muck. This is the kind of film where casting New York Jets coach Rex Ryan as a die hard New England Patriots fan passes for high concept laughs.
Sandler continues to play the same idiot character he has done since "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore," but the difference is this guy lacks any of the innocent charm that helped make those movies work. This is just an abrasive buffoon with very little laughs.
Samberg doesn't fare much better, but at least he appears to be trying. Sandler appears to be mirroring his film career after his character from "Funny People," with yet another film that you wouldn't believe ever got the green light if you hadn't seen it yourself.
In the case of Sandler's spiraling careering, seeing is believing. And it's not a pretty picture.