That’s My Boy (2012): The Most Problematic Film I've Ever Seen!
We have all seen at least one Adam Sandler movie in our lives whether that be one of his comedy classics like Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer or one of his more dramatic roles such as Uncut Gems. We may have also been exposed to some of his not so great work like Jack and Jill, which some consider to be the worst movie ever made. But I disagree, don’t get me wrong Jack and Jill is awful, but there is one Adam Sandler film out there that is definitely worse than all of them, and it happens to be That’s My Boy.
Donny (played by Adam Sandler) is a grown man who fathered a child, Todd (played by Andy Samberg), at the age of 14 with his teacher that is 20 years older than him (that is no joke). After Todd leaves Donny behind and never contacts him again, Donny is now under pressure to pay off tax debts to the IRS. With nowhere else to turn Donny searches for his son to try and help him scrounge up the debt before he goes to prison.
First off, HOW THE HELL DID THIS FILM EVER GET GREENLIT?! The premise of this film surrounds an inappropriate relationship between a 30 something teacher and a 14 year old kid. Like…HOW??? If there was any sort of commentary on how bad of an idea this is it could have flown past censors but there is no hint of intelligence or commentary within the film. I get that it is supposed to be about a father-son reconciliation but it honestly would make more sense and could have worked a tiny bit better if Donny’s character had already graduated high school at this point (I can’t believe I tried to justify this), instead of having him be the victim of a predator and statutory rape. To top it off, everyone was praising him for the sexual exploits. Seriously, someone decided to glamorize this and make a film out of it. Just why???
Not to mention, many of the jokes are extremely unfunny low-brow humor and go more for shock and cringe. It seriously seemed like they gave a pen and paper to a 13 year old kid and told him to write all the best jokes he knew, and mashed that with the script of a porno. While I will admit I did chuckle a few times, I definitely cringed a lot more watching this film as it became more and more painful to bear. But I will give credit to the climactic wedding scene as that was where most of my genuine chuckles came from. However, that was mostly from the reactions of one short-running gag from the film that I will discuss next.
As I said, the only time I chuckled was at the ending wedding sequence in which Todd reacted to a big secret that his wife revealed to him, and it made me laugh because that was a realistic reaction to a secret like that. But of course, the secret was that Todd’s bride was actually screwing her own little brother. Yep, they threw incest into an already problematic movie out of nowhere only for shock and cringe value. The writers must’ve seen Game of Thrones and believed everyone would find it sexy or funny or something. They made jokes again about incest, but they were so terrible that even my 12 year old self sat stoned-faced. This was just, ugh…bleh…what the hell man??? Also, the hit TV show Community made much better incest jokes than this film ever will!
Of course, I try to find some positives in all films, especially bad ones just so the viewing seemed worth it. And I almost couldn’t find anything good about this movie. I’ve already bashed the jokes and premise like a piñata at a 10 year old’s birthday party, so let’s kick a dead horse with the performances. Yeah, there really isn’t a lot to praise here as Adam Sandler practically phones it in for the entire runtime, using a voice that is closer to his work in Little Nicky and Billy Madison than anything else. But you know there are no real memorable or “so bad it's good” performances when you say Vanilla Ice is the biggest star you remember from this “film”. Which I am sure no one will understand unless you are in your 30s or 40s.
Dear God, this is definitely the worst film I have ever laid eyes on! I did chuckle a couple times but it was definitely mixed with more cringe than genuine laughter. This premise should have never made it past the idea stage as it works more with adults in the adult film industry (not the 14 year old kid part, bleh!) rather than using it for a theatrical release. I really enjoy many of Adam Sandler’s movies, but this…I don’t know what the hell he was thinking when making this film. At least we can all say that he put this one in his rearview significantly after giving his best performance in Uncut Gems. I don’t know how inebriated the producers were to make a film like this but this one should have stayed on the shelf.