(2012)2.5Jason BuchananDon't call it a comeback (he never went anywhere), but it would be fair to view Adam Sandler's That's My Boy as something of a return to form coming right on the heels of what might be the low point (Jack and Jill) of his long and varied career. A hard-R comedy that doesn't skimp on the raunch while piling on sight gags galore and enough bizarre cameos to qualify it as a surrealist film, the foulmouthed father-son laugher follows the formula we've come to expect from the former SNL funnyman (including fetishistic use of '80s cock rock) and does it fairly well, but still overstays its welcome by clocking in at nearly two hours.
As a middle-school student, Donny became a pop-culture icon when he slept with Miss McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino), the hottest teacher in town. The entire country watched as a very pregnant Miss McGarricle went on trial and received a 30-year sentence, leaving Donny the lone guardian of their young son Todd (Andy Samberg). The day Todd turned 18, he left and never looked back. Years later, Donny (now played as an adult by Sandler) learns that he will soon go to prison for unpaid taxes unless he can raise $40,000 fast. Meanwhile, Todd has become a successful hedge-fund manager and is about to marry the love of his life, but his happiness is interrupted when Donny turns up determined to form the father-son bond they never had -- or does he have an ulterior motive? Now the harder Donny tries to reconnect with his long-lost son, the more furious Todd's future bride grows with the unwelcomed intruder and his obnoxious antics.
Though Sandler's latest isn't likely to win him any new fans, it's a refreshing blast of obscenity that has more in common with his earlier work than his recent output, and that alone may earn him some goodwill in the eyes of those who feel he's lost his edge in recent years. Whatever your opinion of That's My Boy may be, there's no denying that Sandler and company are going all out for laughs, and with an outrageous supporting cast that includes Will Forte, Nick Swardson, Vanilla Ice, Todd Bridges, and Tony Orlando, the only limit is the MPAA rating. And as the straight man to Sandler's uninhibited, booze-swilling bad parent, co-star Samberg plays socially awkward to the hilt, relishing the opportunity to be the punch line at every turn.
In short, this isn't reinventing the comedy (or even the "Adam Sandler comedy," for that matter). But if you find yourself laughing at the concept of a strip club with a 24-hour omelet bar, or the image of a morbidly obese stripper hanging upside down on a pole while trying (and failing) to drink a glass of orange juice, this is your kind of movie, and nothing any highbrow critic says is likely to stifle your laughter.