A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that That's My Boy is a hard-R Adam Sandler comedy that's full of sex jokes and strong language. There's barely a sentence in the entire film (even a wedding ceremony!) that doesn't contain multiple "f--k"s and other curse words ("s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," and many more). Sandler's character is perpetually drinking a beer -- even first thing in the morning. There's much debauchery; characters drink until they nearly pass out or throw up, smoke marijuana, and engage in adulterous sexual activity. The sex jokes and scenes are nonstop; everything from masturbation to threesomes to incest to statutory rape is depicted, mentioned, and explored. There's little to redeem this movie, even for older teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Donny Berger (Adam Sandler) was a tabloid celebrity in his teens for fathering a child with his young, attractive teacher (Eva Amurri). Instead of being considered the victim of abuse, Donny had a TV movie made out of his life and cashed on his 15 minutes of fame. More than 20 years later, Donny is a Boston-area slacker who has just found out he must pay $43,000 in back taxes to the IRS. A local TV host offers Donny $50,000 if he can find his estranged son, Han Solo (Andy Samberg), and appear on a reunion special. Han, now in his mid-20s, is a successful hedge-fund manager with bland new name -- Todd Peters -- who's about to marry Jamie (Leighton Meester), a hen-peckish beauty. Donny tracks Todd down and pretends to be his best friend to convince him to do the show, but as the two get reacquainted, Donny and Todd realize that maybe they have more of a bond than they initially thought.
Is it any good?
Sandler is turning into another Eddie Murphy: He makes terrible movies because he seems to not care as long as he's having fun and getting a huge paycheck. Never mind that this movie seems conceived by hormonal middle-school boys hot for their teacher. Perhaps Sandler thinks no one cares if he once again plays an over-sexed "lovable loser" who can somehow bed any woman in his immediate vicinity. Maybe some audiences (especially males under the age of 21) will enjoy the fat jokes and constant references to schlongs and sexual positions and bodily fluids -- not to mention sexual abuse and incest. It's just in good fun, he must justify; besides brothers and sisters have sex on Game of Thrones!
But, really, you'd be better off renting or streaming Sandler's greatest hits than watching this puerile exercise in ridiculing the Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau story. Who knew that an older teacher who seduces and then gets pregnant by her 13-year-old student could spawn an entire movie not broadcast on the Lifetime Channel? Apparently Sandler did, or at least his director and screenwriter pals. Sandler is (or maybe "was") a talented comedian, but this raunchy-as-he-wants-to-be formula isn't working at all. The only redeeming parts: Susan Sarandon as the aged imprisoned teacher (the younger version is played by her own daughter, Amurri); James Caan as a boxer-turned-priest with a temper; and Saturday Night Live alums Will Forte and Rachel Dratch. But the cameos still aren't worth the price of admission.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of sex, language, and alcohol in That's My Boy. Is it funny to joke about statutory rape? Are there different standards applied to sex between young girls and older men vs. young boys and older women? Why?
What do you think of the movie's jokes about overweight people? Is it ever OK to continuously poke fun at a particular group of people?
Compare this movie to other Adam Sandler films. What's the difference between his "family" movies and the ones for older audiences?
- In theaters: June 15, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: October 16, 2012
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester
- Director: Sean Anders
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
- Last updated: March 4, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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