When Adam Sandler decided it was time for him to star in an R-rated movie, he must have thought to himself, "Go big or go home."
"That's My Boy" marks Sandler's first step away from the PG-13 - early teen target audience - to a more adult-based comedy. Much more adult-based.
So if you're going to go R, let's jump right in with both feet by tackling multiple taboo topics in the same 98 minute span of time.
Sandler stars as Donny Berger, who becomes a hero in his school and then a national child celebrity after he has a sexual relationship with his hot teacher, Mrs. McGarricle (Eva Amurri/Susan Sarandon) in 1984. The couple gets caught in the act during a school assembly, and Donny becomes a dad while she serves a 30-year prison sentence.
He names his child Han Solo Berger - thinking he's giving his kid the coolest name of all-time, and lets the kid do and eat everything he wants. His parenting creates a 400-pound neurotic child who grows up, changes his name to Todd Peterson, and claims his mother and father died in an explosion.
Both have grown apart and Donny is down to his last dollar. He made his money from a television movie about his life and has blown it. His attorney (NY Jets coach Rex Ryan) tells him he has the weekend to come up with $43,000 he owes the IRS or he's going to prison. A sleezy talk show host (Dan Patrick) offers Donny $50,000 for a prison reunion show with his son at the mother's prison. In an attempt to save his hiney, Donny attempts to reunite with Todd (Andy Samberg) on the weekend of his wedding to Jamie (Leighton Meester). Donny shows up at Todd's boss's home (Tony Orlando) and passes himself off as Todd's best friend. He's able to make connections with everyone else, but Todd wants nothing to do with his dad. And the hilarity ensues.
Nothing is off limits as Vanilla Ice (playing himself) joins Donny as he attempts to win back his son and score the money he needs to stay out of prison.
Of course the usual cast of Sandler-film alumni show up in various roles throughout the film as well, which always creates those ah-ha moments of recognition.
Sandler is basically Billy Madison all grown up. He speaks with a wicked-heavy Boston accent, constantly has a beer in his hand and is always ready with an offensive comment on the tip of his tongue. Yet everyone embraces him. At least initially.
The humor is about as distasteful as it can get, and just when you think they've reached the lowest possible level, they find a way to top it.
Look for a great cameo by former child actor Todd Bridges (of "What you talking about Willis" fame) as himself. Both he and Vanilla Ice do a nice job of poking fun at the failed lives of washed up celebrities.
Loved Ryan as the attorney with a Tom Brady poster "with just the right amount of scruff" and a Bill Belichick bobble-head on his desk that he referred to as "the genius." For Ryan to come off sincere about his greatest rival on the gridiron - now that's acting.
Audience members in the theater while I reviewed the movie were diverse in age and gender, and there was a good combination of laughter and groans throughout. In the end the audience walked away grinning and talking about what they had seen. I can definitely attest to the fact that it indeed was one that left you stunned at what you had just seen.