Friday, June 15, 2012

That's my Boy - Bad parents make mediocre comedies

Andy Samberg, the legendary man from "The Lonely Island" and of course SNL stars in this dime-a-dozen comedy which also stars Adam Sandler. Bizzarrely, Vanilla Ice is in this film and actually has a few good moments. Unfortuantely, a "few good moments" is all that this swearing laden, throw away plot comedy has going for it.There were a few genuinely funny moments, but nothing hysterical that will last beyond me writing this review.

Adam Sandler movies are all very similar in the way he plays his character, which is a shame because I genuinely think he has an acting talent. Perhaps he should try doing an action flick, might be a nice change of pace. We know him, we love him, and even though he doesn't really bring anything new to the table here, he's still good enough to make it passable. The concept of the film is Sandler's character, in his youth, knocks up his teacher who births the child whom he looks after until he is 18. It's amusing, but the humor is all done crudely and rather predictably. There are few surprises that catch you off guard and really make you laugh. I chuckled for the most part, but a few moments really had me laughing.

Though the plot unfolds exactly how you might expect, its still a fun experience. There's some very cringe worthy moments, and some utterly ridiculous ones, but for the most part you'll see everything coming a mile away. I must say that I know its a comedy but some of the things you're supposed to laugh at are just too crude and disgusting. Sandler's production company, Happy Madison, produced the film. I can't help but feel that the script should have been better and wittier, instead it is filled with tried and true technique that is very obviously technique for this genre. To a degree it works, but the formula is tiresome.

Now to be fair, when you go to see an Adam Sandler film like this, you're not expecting much. It entertained me for its run time and that was good enough for me. The problem was that it just wasn't funny enough and left me feeling like I was only laughing because a few other people in the theater were. Andy Samberg impressed me, he's surprisingly confident and shows that he definitely has potential.

PART: THE SECOND - %$*& YOU, YOU $%&#ING #&^%!!!
Swearing is a part of any language on the planet, and I get it, I really do. Swearing in comedy used correctly can turn a dorky line into a funny one. I'm not sure if it was the writers or the actors or even Sean Anders' direction - but it was overkill to the extreme. It's not the case but after the first act alone I felt like I'd heard every combination of swear words possible. Some might consider that an achivement, and had this film been funnier it would be. But this isn't South Park and we're not singing about Kyle's mom. Some of the running jokes in the film are so bad, one of the characters actually says "People still do that?" or something to that effect. Though unintentional I'm sure, this made me chuckle.

While we're on the subject of lines, anyone will notice Sandler doing an utterly ridiculous accent throughout the film. It is, as you might have guessed, ridiculous. It's completely unnecessary, doesn't add anything to the character that belongs in a comedy of this nature, and just isn't funny. I'm sure the idea was to make him sound more child like, but the effect was just obnoxious and irritating. Another irritating thing is the utter disregard for getting the simplest things right. One scene involving Samberg being punched in the face with a right arm sends him flying the wrong way. Normally I wouldn't care, but it wasn't funny enough to distract me enough from noticing the complete disregard for the laws of physics. It was like they set up the stunt, did the whole thing and saw how corny it was and just shrugged and rolled with it.

The film does have some redeeming qualities, though they're few and far between. One particularly hilarious scene involving a spa session had me roaring, even though it started off very akward. The 80's sound track was a lot of fun and made me grin, and of course in this kind of film you don't really care about the original music or much less know that its there. And that's a running problem with this genre - things that you'd normally be keen on in other genres don't matter in the slightest, they're done because they have to be. You go see a movie like this because you want to sit in the chair in the dark in a room full of strangers and laugh your ass off for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, you won't be doing that the whole way, but if you have a more crude sense of humor and think saying saying f**k every three lines is funny, you'll really enjoy this film.

Overall, this is a fun movie. It tries to hard to be funny, and shoots itself in the proverbial foot in doing so. I enjoyed watching it for the most part but there was a few times when I wanted to sigh in exasperation.

What I loved:
Vanilla Ice in the bushes, the "five-oh", seeing the credits roll
What I hated: 
The overkill on a lot of things, the fact that its half way to being a granny soft-porn, Sandler's fake accent.

Final Rating: 1.5/5 stars, or 62%, or C-. Worth renting on DVD/BlueRay. 

If you enjoyed this review or would like to tell me what you thought of the film, please leave me a comment or two! Share this on facebook/twitter/tumblr or whatever it is you use, and thanks for reading.


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