‘That’s My Boy,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.

And there aren’t many blinder than Adam Sandler – or his fans.

Sandler does find a few acorns – make that laughs – in “That’s My Boy,” his latest cinematic extrusion. Few of them are provided by him, however. Nor are there nearly enough of them in this flabby, bloated comedy to change your mind if you, like me, are not a particular fan of Sandler’s self-generated films.

This one is directed by Sean Anders and features many of Sandler’s regular actors (Nick Swardson, Peter Dante). But the attraction, of course, is Sandler, one-time “Saturday Night Live” star, and Andy Samberg, a next-gen “SNL”er who is slightly more talented than Sandler and who looks enough like Sandler to be his son. And that’s the joke.

But like all of Sandler’s films (and by that I mean the ones that come from his Happy Madison production company), this one consists of a thin script pumped up with lots of improv and throwaway gags that Sandler and team apparently retrieved from the wastebasket.

Sandler plays Donny Berger, first seen as a Boston middle-schooler (played by Justin Weaver) who becomes famous for having an affair with his sexy teacher (Eva Amurri Martino, daughter of Susan Sarandon) to – what else – Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” (Indeed, the entire soundtrack could be a lift from “Rock of Ages.”)

He gets her pregnant and, when she gets 30 years in prison for the affair, he is given custody of the baby. Cut to 28 years later – and Donny, who parlayed his notoriety into a career of short-lived celebrity, is now a tax-owing bum, who hasn’t seen his son (who he named Han Solo Berger) since the kid ran away from home at 18.

Donny needs $40,000 to settle his IRS bill, which, of course, he doesn’t have. But then he sees an engagement notice for his son, now a rich hedge fund manager who has changed his name to Todd (Samberg), who is getting married at the palatial Cape Cod estate of his boss (played, oddly, by Tony Orlando, whose toupee is much funnier than a lot of this movie). So Donny shows up for the wedding, hoping to talk his son into giving him the money to stay out of jail.

Donny is the fish out of water – or perhaps the turd in the punch bowl.

This review continues on my website.

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