Saturday, June 16, 2012

That's My Boy [2012]

MPAA (R)  Michael Phillips (0 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
Michael Phillips' review

Ok, leading-up to this weekend, I honestly didn't expect to go see the Adam Sandler vehicle That's My Boy (directed by Sean Anders and screenplay by David Caspe).  Like many other movie-goers, I've found that I can generally take only so much of his humor, which is usually very, very stupid and generally crude.  And honestly, this movie is certainly stupid and crude.  HOWEVER, with it being Fathers' Day weekend, the film having a "Father's Day" theme to it (albeit portraying Adam Sandler playing a particularly awful father) and knowing that men/fathers haven't exactly had an easy time of it over the last generation or two, I decided to give it a shot.

Now, parents, honestly PLEASE DON'T take little kids to this movie!   The film DEFINITELY earns its R-rating.  The list of (thankfully generally off-screen) transgressions in the film is very long and in a "Hall of Shame" sense "impressive."  However, since the transgressions are generally _so over the top/exaggerated_ it is clear they are intended for effect: Yes, Adam Sandler's character, Donny, was a loser.  In the story, Donny knocked-up his teacher in 8th grade (played by Eva Amurri Martino when young and by Susan Sarandon in the present day) who subsequently was sent to prison, leaving Donny (actually initially Donny's dad, but when he turned 18, Donny) to take care of the child, who Donny (who was like 13 years old at the time the child was born) named "Han Solo" after the "really cool character in Star Wars" (played in those films by Harrison Ford).

Needless to say, this was not an "ideal arrangement" and soon as Donny's boy (Han) turned 18, Han (played as an adult by Andy Samburg) _left home_ changed his name to Todd and tried to start his life anew.  And actually he did quite well, majoring apparently in Math (his mother had actually been a Math Teacher, and Donny if not for so messing-up his own life had been actually shown talent in math as well...).

Eventually Han (now Todd) landed a job at a Wall Street firm, found a gorgeous girl, Jamie (played by Leighton Meester) that he was going to marry.  What could go wrong?

Well dad (Donny) who had resigned himself to the fact that his boy Han/Todd was going to be out his life for good, finds that he needs to come-up with some very quick money or else he's going to go to jail.  So on the weekend on which his estranged son Todd's WEDDING was going to be held, Donny suddenly shows-up at his doorstep (and it's not even his son's doorstep but the doorstep of his son's boss' beautiful Cape Cod estate (where the wedding was going to be held) in self-evident (though _also_ initially _unclear_) need of help.  Good God, much ensues ...

Again, this movie _is_ crude.  But honestly what a story it tells ... My hat off to Adam, and my hat off to Leighton Meester (of "Gossip Girl" fame, who's had to deal with "disappointing/problematic parents" for real in own life and who first caught my attention as someone who really could become a serious talent in Country Strong [2011].  The current film is, of course, impossibly exaggerated.  But many, many people and families _also_ have to deal with seemingly impossible situations.  So honestly, good job folks (as well as to Andy Samburg, whose role was actually and clearly more important in this than Meester's though Meester's background so well resonates with the problematics played out in the film).

Once again, parents PLEASE DON'T take a kid who's "10 years old" to this film.  This is a movie that deserves its R-rating.  Still, for even a teenager in the latter years of high school, where there would be issues of "disappointment with parents" at home, this would an _excellent_ (and funny) film to see.  And it MAY BE a good film to see as "father/older teenage son", "parents/older teens" together.

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