That's My Boy

That's My Boy

2012, R, 114 min. Directed by Sean Anders. Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, James Caan, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, Milo Ventimiglia, Eva Amurri Martino, Will Forte, Luenell.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 22, 2012

Adam Sandler is clearly having a good time in this movie – the umpteenth star vehicle he’s made since leaving Saturday Night Live. In That’s My Boy, Sandler doesn’t seem to care if we like Donny Berger, the loutish character he plays with a looseness far removed from any worries about propriety. Donny is an affront to good taste, and Sandler seems to revel in the opportunity to go full affrontal. I won’t deny that I let loose with several hearty laughs, even though they were too few and far between. But don’t say you weren’t warned if you find yourself ready to flee by the time Donny starts jerking off to a picture of an old woman. The film’s narrative climax proves to be even more twisted.

However, if you expect That’s My Boy to be the Bad Dad equivalent of Bad Santa, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Sandler can’t quite adopt that same cynical edge, instead favoring corny and sentimental resolutions to untenable predicaments. Stepping out for a change with a different director than his usual go-to helmer, Dennis Dugan, Sandler shows signs of reaching beyond his comfort zone, but Sean Anders (working from a screenplay by David Caspe) directs with little style or sense of structure. That’s My Dad is bloated and stretched to a nearly two-hour length, which includes several sequences that are thoroughly expendable. The casting of Sandler and Andy Samberg as father and son is inspired, as is the casting of Eva Amurri Martino and her real-life mother, Susan Sarandon, as versions of the same character played nearly 30 years apart. But Tony Orlando and Vanilla Ice (playing himself) might prefer a return to their years of underexposure than the attention they’ll get from their appearances here. That’s My Boy needs no paternity test; its DNA is evident. So is its spunk.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Sean Anders Films
Instant Family
Adoption comedy is rocky but charming

Matthew Monagle, Nov. 16, 2018

Daddy's Home 2
The daddy's daddy crash Christmas in this unneeded sequel

Danielle White, Nov. 10, 2017

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
This Job Will Change Your Life
This Job Will Change Your Life
Former staff reflect on the zigs and zags of life post-Chronicle

Sept. 3, 2021

Nomadland
Story of America's itinerant population wanders too much

Feb. 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

That's My Boy, Sean Anders, Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, James Caan, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, Milo Ventimiglia, Eva Amurri Martino, Will Forte, Luenell

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle