Movie review: 'That's My Boy' a juvenile offender

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True, 2012 is only half over, but it's never too early to start thinking about year-end lists. And we have a strong early contender -- for the roster of worst movies.

I give you "That's My Boy," a movie about a teacher who seduces a seventh-grader in 1984, has his child and is sentenced to 30 years in the Massachusetts women's penitentiary.

Flash forward to the present, when that child is all grown up -- christened Han Solo by his immature dad, Donny Berger (Adam Sandler) -- and about to marry. Han now works on Wall Street, calls himself Todd (Andy Samberg) and tells everyone his parents are dead instead of the subject of salacious headlines and a made-for-TV movie.

'That's My Boy'

1 stars = Awful
Ratings explained
  • Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester.
  • Rating: R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.

But Donny, once hailed as a "junior high stud" and still recognized everywhere he goes, hasn't paid taxes in years and will be going to jail unless he can come up with $43,000.

A scheme to get the money leads him to Todd on the eve of his son's lavish wedding to Jamie (Leighton Meester). Donny poses as a pal of Todd, ingratiates himself into his son's circle of future in-laws and friends and even gets Todd to loosen up but their newly re-established bond might be destroyed forever.

That's because "That's My Boy" has to figure out a way to trump the Mary Kay Letourneau-style scandal at the movie's start, even more cringe-inducing than usual, given the sordid Jerry Sandusky trial testimony.

Despite the inspired casting of Mr. Sandler and Mr. Samberg as father and son in an eclectic ensemble that also counts Tony Orlando, Vanilla Ice and James Caan, "That's My Boy" aims low with women invariably as sexpots, strippers or skanks plus multiple references to bodily fluids and sex acts, and people being cracked on the head with bottles or punched in the nose.

"That's My Boy" has a couple of funny moments, largely pertaining to boyhood tats and TV or music mainstays from the late 1980s or early '90s.

It tries to be outrageous and offensive in the service of laughter, and it worked for some members of a preview audience who howled every time an amply endowed and barely clad stripper appeared on the pole or nearby. As Mr. Sandler emphasized to David Letterman this week, it's absolutely, positively not a family film.

So, wassup? Mr. Samberg, who has cut the ties to "Saturday Night Live," proves he belongs on the big screen. I just wish it wasn't this one.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: First Published June 15, 2012 4:00 AM


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