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Review: That's My Boy

Everyone familiar with Adam Sandler's work knows that he isn't a guy trying to make movies that might be associated with award-winning potential. His movies are made with the goal of drawing laughter out of the audience and that's the way he's always done it. I don't have any issues with that and I think there's plenty of room for those types of movies. Because of that, I was open to seeing his movie That's My Boy.
Donny (Adam Sandler) has massive debt and a lengthy prison sentence following right behind it if it's not paid off soon. He thinks he's found a solution to his unfortunate predicament after he decides to reconnect with Todd (Andy Samberg), his successful son that wants absolutely nothing to do with him. By forcing his way back into his son's life, Donny meets his son's future in-laws, some old friends and runs into several unpredictable situations that may alter both of their lives forever.
When analyzing That's My Boy, I have to break it into two parts. The first part that I'm going to talk about takes up about two-thirds of the movie. This portion of the movie is well below average outside of a few of its opening scenes and it's uninspiring for the most part. One of the main reasons for this is because it seems forced and jumbled on way too many occasions. Developing it at a proper pace would have surely helped it out a little and it would have made it look like it wasn't pieced together in a matter of minutes.
The most important reason for the failure seen in this stage of That's My Boy comes from the comedy almost never being funny. While it managed to bring a smirk to my face every once in a while, most of the jokes during this time fell flat and are simply disappointing. What makes it appear even worse is the fact that they attempted to use gross out humor along with some odd and extreme situations as well. Including these things with bad comedy makes the movie look immature and dumb. It also didn't help having Rex Ryan delivering supposedly funny lines while unintentionally sounding like a cyborg.
Speaking of Rex Ryan, you'll notice the liberal use of cameos and guest appearances from people who you wouldn't normally see in film. If you've seen any of the trailers, you probably know that Vanilla Ice makes his return to film here. Not only is he and Ryan in it, but there are also quite a few other recognizable faces (primarily from the world of sports) spread around the entire movie. While watching That's My Boy, it's obvious that Sandler and his crew just wanted to have fun with this movie and so they included whoever they wanted to include.
This might have sounded like a good idea to these guys, but it hurts the movie, because most of these non-actors are terrible. I don't mind them being in the movie, but their overall importance should have been reduced. These non-actors in That's My Boy receive too much screen time and that knocks down the quality of the movie even more. This isn't the first time that someone has used this tactic and I don't have a problem with it, but you have to use these guys better than this and give them less to do.
Anyway, I have to talk about the last third or so of That's My Boy and point out that it's slightly different from what came before it. I say it's different, because things start to improve at this juncture. The sharp up swing is primarily due to the comedy actually beginning to be consistently funny down the stretch. It's still grotesque and outlandish, but it's handled a lot better in this portion of the film and it looked liked they actually put a little thought into it. If there was more energy and effort put into the movie as a whole, I could see this being a decent movie. Too bad that's not what happened.
That's My Boy embodies what Sandler's career has become over the years. He hasn't done too many movies of good quality in a very long time and it's not looking like he'll ever get back on track. He got off to a nice start with movies like The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, but he hasn't been able too produce consistently since and those came out in like the late 90's. This movie is in the same category as most of his recent work and that's pretty much because the comedy is completely lame.
Score: 2/5
Rating: R
Director: Sean Anders
Adam Sandler
Andy Samberg
Leighton Meester
Vanilla Ice
James Caan
Milo Ventimiglia
Will Forte
Susan Sarandon
Film Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: June 15, 2012
Distributor: Sony Pictures

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