That’s My Boy (2012)

(On Cable TV, June 2018) I’ve been gorging on classic movies lately, so it’s even more of a shock than usual to take in one of the dumbest and most repulsive Adam Sandler movies yet. That’s My Boy is unusual in the Sandler oeuvre in that it’s clearly R-rated (Sandler is, temperamentally and intellectually, more closely aligned with the PG-13 rating) and it really doesn’t waste any time in establishing that fact: Once a film starts with statutory rape played for laughs, you have to wonder if it has anywhere lower to go. Alas, it does: incest, granny-lusting and priest-punching are only some of the not-so-delightful surprises that the film still has in store. Most of it plays limply despite the film’s incessant bombardment of curse words and shock images: Like most teenagers discovering the R-rating, Sandler seems convinced that everything is funnier with four-letter words and if he’s not entirely wrong (I did catch myself laughing once or twice) he does overdo it. It’s a mixed blessing to see gifted actors such as Susan Sarandon, James Caan and arguably Andy Samberg being dragged into the mess—although Ciara is cute as a peripheral love interest who shows up in two scenes. Still, much of the film is bottom-grade raunchy comedy, too crude to be interesting and too trite to be surprising. I usually see those films in order to know what I’m talking about when I’m dismissing comedians such as Sandler, but at the moment, That’s My Boy is having an unexpected impact: Making me like the classic Hays Code comedies I’m watching even more.

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