“Donny Berger” is an 8th grade boy who is as the Van Halen song says, “hot for teacher.” Teacher happens to be “Mary McGarricle” (Eva Amurri Martino) and after a proposition from Donny in the hallway, she sentences him to a month in detention as punishment. But in detention she seduces him and their torrid affair goes on unchecked until they are discovered in a very public coupling.
She goes to trial where her unwillingness to repent or show remorse, added to the burgeoning baby bump pushing out her prison dress causes the judge to do two things. The judge sentences her to 30 years in prison and awards custody of the unborn child to Donny’s father after it is born. But, once Donny turns 18, he will be awarded custody and responsibility for the child.
This makes Donny an instant celebrity and he spends the next 20 some years capitalizing on his celebrity to support himself, even selling his life story to a producer who creates a made for TV movie (Alan Thicke and Ian Ziering play Donny’s Dad and Donny in the TV movie we get to peek at). But when all is said and done, not only is the adult Donny (Adam Sandler) broke, he also owes some $43,000 in back taxes and he has a choice. Pay up by Tuesday (it’s Memorial Day weekend), or else go directly to prison for three years. With $28 in his pockets, his initial action is to be $20 on a huge longshot to win a race, and then he heads over to his favorite strip club to drink, oogle and ponder.
He then sees a photo of his now grown son (Andy Samberg) on the cover of a magazine showing that Todd is about to marry Jamie (Leighton Meester) as the expensive and exclusive home of Todd’s boss. Now when he was born, Todd was named something else by his father, but as the magazine article spells out, apparently Todd has re-written his biography to change his name, and kill off his parents, who he claims were killed in an explosion when he was nine. One of Donny’s stripper friends suggests that he approach his son and ask him for the money, but Donny doesn’t like that idea.
So he tries to borrow the money from his old buddy Vanilla Ice (playing himself), but he claims not to have it. Since he’s working at an ice rink frying chicken nuggets, his claim of poverty seems realistic. So Donny next approaches TV host Randall Morgan (sports-talk radio host Dan Patrick in a great performance as a sleazy TV host) who decides that filming a reunion of Donny, son, and the son’s mother in her prison would be worth $50,000. This sends Donny to the home of Todd’s boss to get Todd to agree to come visit his mother in prison.
What happens once Todd encounters his father is partly told in the film’s trailers, but fortunately some of the funnier moments are not spoiled in those trailers and I won’t spoil them here. Suffice it to say that some of the funniest moments in the film come from this moment forward, as Donny encounters Todd’s future brother-in-law, a very gung-ho Marine (Ventimiglia), the future in-laws, Todd’s boss (Tony Orlando) and most definitely, the mother of that boss.
That’s My Boy is loaded with penises, breasts, drugs, booze, and humor using all of these things. There’s a stripper in a “halo” securing her broken neck who pole dances and is later viewed doing something even more R-rated. There’s a woman who launched into an adjective/insult laden tirade at Donny in a setting he isn’t used to that is followed by an even more surprising annoucement. Surprises abound, as many things end up not being what they appear to be.
I predict Adam Sandler will never make a film that generate wide, critical acclaim and leads to multiple Oscars. But that’s not the kind of movie we should expect from him and those with whom he regularly collaborates. This is one of their better, funnier efforts and that makes it a worthwhile choice to view.