DONNY BERGER (Adam Sandler) has learned something over the years. He's discovered that the stupider he acts—the cruder and viler he is, the more reprehensibly he behaves—the more people end up liking him. Deep down, Adam Sandler should know this, too, but Sandler's last few movies have safely pocketed him in the "family friendly" corner of mainstream Hollywood comedy, with appallingly bad results. (His last two films, Jack and Jill and Just Go With It, must be among the unfunniest movies ever made.)
I expect most people will shit from great heights upon Sandler's new movie, That's My Boy, in which a teenage Sandler fathers a child who grows up to be Andy Samberg. But I'll tell you something. It's Sandler's funniest movie since Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, and for very simple reasons: It's completely, totally disgusting. It's absolutely, cretinously inane. It's bafflingly, insultingly gross; it's racist, sexist, homophobic, scatological, and immoral. It, like Donny, will do anything—literally anything—to put even the faintest smile onto your face. And with maximum effort on both your part and the film's part, it succeeds.
Of course the movie is an unholy mess. That's My Boy's script is a busted construction of idiocy that lumbers from incident to incident like a zombified brontosaurus, dropping rotten, stinking pieces of plot and character development with every whomp. In an unending, truly uncomfortable prelude, we watch the middle-school-student version of Donny sleep with a hot teacher, who gets pregnant and is sent to prison. Donny raises the kid, who grows up despising him, cutting off contact as an adult and changing his name to Todd Peterson. Years later, Donny tracks down Todd (Samberg) on the weekend of Todd's wedding to Jamie (Leighton Meester), setting up a predictable, completely unoriginal series of hijinks in which loutish, estranged father embarrasses uptight son in front of straight-laced, moneyed in-laws.
But something weird happens with That's My Boy. Its first half is so completely, thoroughly godawful that by the time the second half rolls around—once the movie stops worrying about its story and settles into a rapid-fire routine of gross-out gag after gross-out gag—the viewer is beaten into a kind of worn-down, dumbstruck admiration. Todd's bachelor party sequence, which seems to make up a full half of the movie's runtime (with nary a plot development to be found, thank goodness), becomes a profuse, bountiful pageant of dick jokes, poop jokes, boob jokes, puke jokes, sperm jokes, and piss jokes. Especially piss jokes. Soooo many piss jokes in this movie, you guys—I bet for a good 20 minutes of screentime, there is somebody pissing somewhere on the screen.
Sandler makes yet another off-putting choice by affecting an obnoxious voice and accent for the entire movie (see also: Little Nicky, The Waterboy). Supporting characters include a randy grandma, an obese stripper, James Caan as a priest with a really bad Irish accent, and Vanilla Ice. I know, I know, none of this is convincing you to see That's My Boy—and you probably shouldn't, I guess. But what does a movie that puts former child star/crackhead Todd Bridges (cameoing as himself) nose-deep in a pile of cocaine deserve? Some sort of begrudging respect, at the very least.