Courtesy of Sony Pictures

That’s My Boy (2012) Review

In the land of Adam Sandler and Happy Madison, the dreams (and fantasies) of all pubescent boys come true. Their logic and good will reign supreme and there exists no action capable of weakening the spirit of he who remains committed to being the person he knows himself to be. That’s My Boyis another installment of this tried and true formula.

Adam Sandler is Donny Berger, the estranged father of Todd Peterson. An unhappy childhood navigated by an unfit parent has left Todd, played by Andy Samberg, emotionally scarred and ashamed of his family history. Donny has partied through his entire life and must face the proverbial music when his debts mount beyond his financial capabilities.

Donny sees an opportunity to solve his problem when he recognizes his son’s picture in the newspaper. Todd has matured into an accomplished and successful businessman. Now, Donny is in a race against time to re-establish his relationship with his son and secure the funds to eradicate his debt.

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]ans of Adam Sandler’s brand of exhibitionist, screwball comedy will receive more than a few helpings of slapstick and malarkey. The physical gags and versatility of the character motives offer a smorgasbord of humor with plenty of options to appeal to every comedic appetite.

As Donny does his best to assimilate into Todd’s life, Todd is challenged time and again by his pursuit to mask the true identity of his long lost ‘friend’, who everyone is led to believe Donny truly is. Aside from convincing his son of his sincerest though misguided parental devotion, Donny is optimistic towards and oblivious to his effect on the people in Todd’s world. His duty as a father requires him to choose the livelihood of his child over his selfish desire to continue the free ride he has enjoyed through life.

That’s My Boy has a strong commitment to family ideals and social norms. However, the nature of the content is for adult audiences. There is violence, nudity, strong language and adult subject matter. There is controversy brimming from the opening scene, which hits below the belt and requires a mature perspective on morals, ethics and 80s sensationalism. Parents be warned that when accompanying a minor to this film, there will be many questions asked and possibly difficult answers to follow.

Mature audiences will revel in the quips and references to the glorious time of yore, also known as the 1980s, Donny’s heyday. The hair, wardrobe and accessories will take back anyone who can remember and tickle the funny bone of those new to the fashions and styles. Stonewashed jeans and headbands are everywhere. Studded earrings and mall-hair are uniform. Bright colors and bared shoulders line the hallways of school and the raging hormones found within those walls.

The absence of Todd’s mother is the centerpiece of this achingly twisted and sympathetic portrait of the American high life. Her inability to participate in the lives of the men she loves is what bonds and binds father and son.

Be prepared for a wide array of guest stars and scene-stealers. That’s My Boy is a powerhouse of youthful and exuberant energy where the jokes are non-stop and family life is non-conventional.