Adam Sandler's latest film fiasco, "That's My Boy," starts with statutory rape and ends with incest. Let the laughter begin.
The reason Sandler's film is a movie version of dog droppings isn't that it tries to get laughs from topics generally off limits in comedies. The problem is that no one seems to be trying.
First-time film writer David Caspe has cobbled together the kind of jokes that make third-graders shoot milk out of their noses. The script is so thin you can see the contract Sandler signed with Satan to become a big star despite his lack of talent.
In what sadly passes as the plot, Sandler plays Donny Berger, a 40-something who's been living off the fame he got in 1984 when, as a 13-year-old, he got his math teacher pregnant. The product of that union, Han Solo Berger (Andy Samberg), has changed his name to Todd and tells people his parents died in an explosion.
Donny's in trouble with the IRS and must come up with $43,000 or he'll go to jail. He strikes a deal with a cheesy talk show host -- played with career-ending zeal by Dan Patrick -- to get his estranged son to the prison, where his mother's serving her 30-year sentence, for an on-camera family reunion. Donny shows up on the eve of Todd's wedding to trick him into being part of the TV show.
Between the rape and incest is a steady string of jokes that even a first-grader would call juvenile. Sandler seems to get a real kick out of fat naked people and old people sex. The big comedy moment comes when Todd soils his pants. Sure, these things make people laugh, but they are such easy jokes that the whole production feels like two hours of people goofing around and hoping what they've done makes sense.
Sandler's become so lazy that even he can't completely commit to outrageous comedy. As some half-asinine way of giving the film a little weight, Donny shows a paternal side. It's neither funny nor believable.
Surprisingly, some of the funniest moments come from Vanilla Ice, who plays himself. His willingness to make fun of himself is an example of smart comedy that doesn't just depend on juvenile acts for laughs. It's also funny that Donny's teacher is played both by Eva Amurri Martino and her mother, Susan Sarandon.
It's just sad these funny nuggets are buried in a film that looks like Caspe swallowed a joke book and regurgitated the script.
"That's My Boy," rated R for language, nudity, sexual content, drug use. Stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg. Directed by Sean Anders. Running time: 116 minutes. Grade: D- Theaters and times for this movie | Other movie reviews
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, email@example.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.