The year is 1984. The premise: Van Halen’s 1984—specifically, “Hot for Teacher.” In time-tested SNL-alum-movie fashion, That’s My Boy has a protagonist-as-kid prologue—Massachusetts teen Donny Berger knocks up his teacher and becomes an ’80s-media phenom in the process—and a beat-the-clock fundraising plot, as adult Donny (Adam Sandler), now a fortysomething Bud-swilling has-been who refuses to believe the party is over, needs a windfall to pay off his back taxes. This prompts Donny to opportunistically search out the estranged son who resulted from his statutory first love. He discovers that little Han Solo Berger is now grown up and living incognito as rising businessman “Todd Peterson” (Andy Samberg), trying to forget his trashy upbringing while on the eve of a Cape Cod wedding to a picture-perfect fiancée (Leighton Meester), which would assure him admission to the upper classes—except Donny arrives to rescue his son from the bourgeoisie neurosis. Sandler is in full pandering Gen X nostalgia mode here, à la The Wedding Singer; at worst this means an extended cameo for Vanilla Ice, but for all that, there is far more generosity of spirit and more dumb laffs in Sandler’s latest wicked pissah, a paean to let-it-all-hang-out party-guy sloppiness, than in the sterile, Glee-perky Rock of Ages.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 13, 2012