That's My Boy
Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, Tony Orlando, Milo Ventimiglia
Directed by Sean Anders
Once a household name and a rising teenage celebrity due to a controversial relationship which made him famous, Donny (Sandler) had everything - from being on the cover of Rolling Stone to his own movie. Twenty years later Donny is out of money and looking at jail time if he doesn’t pay the money he owes to the tax department.
Things are looking bleak, but just as it seems all hope is lost, he notices a magazine cover that features the wedding of his long-estranged son Todd (Samberg), who is now famous in his own right. Although he is washed up, Donny contacts an old associate of his, who, sensing a business opportunity, agrees to give him the money he needs to avoid jail if he can convince his son to visit his mother Mary (Sarandon) in prison so that the family reunion can be shown on television.
Realising it may be the only way to be able to settle his debts in time, Berger consents to the deal and sets out to reconcile with his son. Todd is less than happy to see his father, whose lack of good parenting skills have made him somewhat socially anxious.
Thinking fast, and not wanting to have to explain things to Jamie, his fiancée (Meester), his future father-in-law Steve (Orlando) and Jamie's brother Chad (Ventimiglia), Todd tells them that Donny is in fact his best friend, in town for the wedding.
Worried that Donny’s outgoing, fun-loving and sometimes intense attitude to life is going to ruin his big weekend, Todd is horrified when his future in-laws invite Donny to stay at the house, and further horrified that everyone else seems to take to him.
Confronting his father, Todd questions Donny’s true intentions, but eventually accepts that his dad wants to make amends - or, rather, is forced into spending some quality father-son time when it is decided that Donny should be the best man.
That’s My Boy has some particularly funny scenes, such as the fight scene between Donny and the local priest, or when Donny teaches Todd to ride a bike for the first time. Kudos must also be given to the very obvious shout out to Star Wars (Donny originally named Todd Han Solo, but Todd changed it later on) and the hilarious casting of Vanilla Ice playing himself as Donny’s old friend. Seeing Vanilla Ice serving up chicken nuggets is a killer.
That said, That’s My Boy does has a lot of over the top, crude humour that at times is just cheesy and unnecessary. It takes away from what is essentially a film about family reconciliation and the importance of admitting that the ones we love should be given a second chance.
If you can stomach the cheesy humour and look the past the crudeness, then this film is worth seeing, especially for the way that Donny redeems himself in Todd’s eyes, but this film is not for everyone (and definitely not for a younger audience!).
2 and a half stars.
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