Madea's Big Happy Family, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, How High, Freddy Got Fingered, Pootie Tang, Soul Plane, Who's That Girl?, Summer School, Your Highness, Encino Man, Dude Where's My Car?, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, UHF, Booty Call, Two Can Play That Game, Rat Race, Deuce Bigalow, White Chicks, Hot Rod and Sex Drive. Am I leaving any out? I probably am.
I saw each and every one of the aforementioned idiotic films and I laughed at them all. Way too much. I laughed at scenarios, dialogue and physical gags that were crass, scatological, offensive to all stripes of humanity, vulgar, tasteless, stupid and wrong. And I am not sorry.
That's because there must always this kind of movie and, more specifically for the purposes of this review, there must always be an Adam Sandler. Every generation's culture has a somewhat-Adam-Sandler-shaped hole in its soul. That obnoxious itch must be scratched. It's just currently Adam Sandler's turn to be the guy who does it.
He does it here as a developmentally arrested man who, at age 12, impregnated his sexy math teacher (Eva Amurri Martino, Susan Sarandon's look-alike daughter) and became famous for it. Later in life, his now-adult and extremely uptight, neurotic son, Han Solo (Andy Samberg), tells the world that his parents are dead, changes his name to Todd and plans to marry up into polite society. But you know that's not going to happen on Sandler's watch.
The film gleefully celebrates statutory rape. That might be a deal-breaker for you, comedically speaking. It also celebrates child neglect, drunken violence, three-ways with Grandma and Vanilla Ice (co-starring as himself), shooting people at point blank range with shotguns and pouring orange juice up the nose of a 300-lb. stripper who is simultaneously hanging upside down on the pole while eating a plate of bacon and eggs. Then there's a third act twist that shocked the preview audience into stunned, disgusted silence. It probably will be a deal-breaker for you, comedically speaking. After that, Sandler throws up all over everything. I suppose that puke-reveal counts as a spoiler. Whatever.
We live in a moment in history where information has never been easier to come by or consume but where we've also made it acceptable for every piece of that disorganized, mountain-sized pile of information to weigh exactly the same. And that's how, in 2012, ignorance can still trump science, anti-intellectualism is allowed to stand in for coherent, reasoned thought and a movie like That's My Boy commands more attention from more people than almost any half-well-made, somewhat intelligent comedy, much less whatever just won the Palme d'Or.
I don't know what kind of moviegoer you are. Maybe this kind of thing is all you want to see. You might reconsider that position. It won't do you any favors in life. It falls into the same camp of dummy behavior as not reading or refusing all vegetables and it makes you part of the problem. It's less likely, but still possible, that you're all arthouse all the time, that there's no room in your brain for a steaming brown pile of comedy debasement that seeks to electrocute your moral code and make you laugh uncontrollably in the process.
But here's what kind of moviegoer I am: the kind who can't wait to see Michael Haneke's Amour (that's this year's Palme d'Or winner, by the way), who enjoys the chaos of the Transformers movies and who thinks Super Troopers is one of the funniest films of the past decade, the kind whose favorite so far this year is either Bela Tarr's The Turin Horse or maybe The Three Stooges. I'm also the kind who needs Adam Sandler to keep making deplorable garbage like this. I will watch it and I will enjoy myself and I will have no excuse for it and I will remain un-sorry.
And I just realized I have to give this a star rating, an impossible task. 0 for quality? 5 for how much I laughed? Let's split the stupid difference. At least it didn't rob me of my ability to divide by two.