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Word to your father [ REVIEW ] BY DAYNA PAPALEO

“That’s My Boy” (R), directed by Sean Anders Now playing

romance between Dennis Dupree and his loyal assistant Lonny (Russell Brand), another the determination of the mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to clean up Los Angeles, shut down the Bourbon Room, and kill rock and roll. All of that business (and more) clogs up the smooth path of true love between the blond Sherrie and the bland Drew. Appropriately, the movie features several big production numbers employing a great many performers. One shows Sherrie working in a strip club, singing a song that moves through several different scenes, with all the other characters singing the same song, so that the music acts as a kind of transitional method to link all the plots and people. Aside from the very loud climactic performance by Arsenal and Stacee Jaxx, a couple of others stand out — Catherine Zeta-Jones leading a chorus of upper-class ladies in a frenetic song and dance in a church, where they vow to destroy the music of the Satanic Jaxx, whose picture they sacreligiously place on the altar (all the while the mayor himself is enjoying mildly perverted sex in the sacristy with his lovely aide). The two alleged principals of “Rock of Ages” and their silly love story simply fade into the background whenever the secondary characters appear and do their shtick. When Cruise, Baldwin, and Brand take over the picture it becomes quite funny, otherwise it remains, frankly, quite horrible.

In “AWESOM-O,” one of my favorite episodes of “South Park,” a disguised Cartman gets Butters to think he’s a robot, and, following a gauntlet of typically weird events, the robot ends up pitching movie ideas to an eager bunch of studio suits. About 800 of these pitches star Adam Sandler, including one where he’ll inherit a billion dollars if he can become a boxer, as well as one where he’s trapped on a desert island and falls in love with a coconut. Now, I totally believe Cartman’s spontaneous riffing illustrates how more than a few Sandler flicks have gotten made, and I’m also pretty sure that anyone who isn’t actively profiting from the man has little to no respect for the majority of his artistic choices. Then again, so what? Adam Sandler isn’t making movies for his peers, or the critics. His movies are for the ticket buyers of this world, or, more accurately, their lowest common denominator. And Sandler reaches

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg in “That’s My Boy.” PHOTO COURTESY

a new low with “That’s My Boy,” an obvious, idiotic, inappropriate, misogynistic, and often very funny comedy that continues to preach the simple Sandler gospel: try not to be too much of a dick. Unfortunately, the premise of “That’s My Boy” is more than a little problematic. It’s 1984, and 13-year-old Donny Berger (Justin Weaver) scores — and scores — with his hot, willing teacher (a go-for-broke Eva Amurri Martino), leading to 30 years in the slammer for her, a standing ovation for him, and one baby named Han Solo Berger. Jump forward to present-day Boston; his infamy not yet completely faded, Sandler’s Donny is a mulleted loser (complete with rusty Fiero sporting a Rush emblem) who must come up with $43,000 in back taxes or face prison. A sleazy TV guy (non-sleazy TV guy Dan Patrick) promises him 50 large for a jailhouse reunion with his teacher and their child, causing Donny to track down his son, a hedge-fund manager now calling himself Todd Peterson (Andy Samberg) since cutting all ties with a dad who fed him lollipops for breakfast and made him the designated driver at 8 years old. Todd is days away from marrying into a well-off family and securing a sweet promotion, so naturally that’s when Donny shows up. And like most Sandler movies, “That’s My Boy” isn’t about Donny straightening up and flying right; it’s about everyone around him removing the poles from their asses and being a little bit more fun. So cue semen, barf, urine, old-age jokes, genital jokes, a lot more semen, and fat jokes as Sandler heads for relatively uncharted R-rated territory. He’s having a grand old time with Donny’s nailson-a-chalkboard Southie accent, his inexplicable appeal to women (of all ages), and his astonishing ability to keep a beer

from spilling. Donny’s anachronistic ways extend to his close friendship with a scene-stealing Vanilla Ice, salvaged despite Donny’s inadvertent indiscretion with Uncle Vanny’s mother: “It’s not like her last name was Ice!” Would reversing the genders of Donny and his teacher make this a completely different film? Oh, yeah. But director Sean Anders (2008’s “Sex Drive”) and screenwriter David Caspe (ABC’s underrated “Happy Endings”) aren’t too interested in addressing the long-term effects felt by adult victims of statutory rape anyway, and Todd’s entrenched issues, like anxiety, diabetes, and the spare underwear, are all played for laughs. (To be fair, they are all a teeny bit funny.) Then, just when you think things can’t get any cruder, Anders and Caspe throw a third-act curveball that takes “That’s My Boy” from hilariously crass to downright uncomfortable. And I’m not even referring to the delightfully obscene cameo by Martino’s Oscar-winning mother as the present-day teacher. So, no, “That’s My Boy” isn’t a good film, and may even fall into the category of potentially irresponsible. But if you bother to see it — and looking at the opening weekend numbers, most did not — you will almost certainly laugh, and that’s probably all Sandler & Co. were aiming for. So ignore any nagging moral qualms that may try to surface and enjoy the fleeting things, like James Caan’s brawling Irish priest, much-missed SNL players like Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer (but no Rob Schneider!?), 89-year-old Peggy Stewart as Tony Orlando’s plucky cougar mom, a stripper who eats her breakfast hanging upside-down from a pole, and this film’s singlehanded revival of the obnoxious catchphrase “Waaazzuuuup?”



Thursday, June 21, 8 p.m. Sailors Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin are on leave in the Big Apple in search of l’amour. One of the first Hollywood musicals filmed on location in New York City, it marked the directorial debut of 25-year-old Donen and reinvigorated the genre. (Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, US 1949, 98 min.)

ATTENBERG Movies for movie lovers, 6 nights a week. Gene Kelly

Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m. & Sunday, June 24, 5 p.m. A naive twentysomething, whose knowledge of human nature is taken from David Attenborough documentaries and ’70s punk, discovers her own developing sexuality while preparing for her ailing father’s death. An offbeat new entry in the Greek New Wave from the director of the acclaimed Dogtooth. (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece 2010, 93 min., Greek w/subtitles.)

Rochester Premiere

Film Info: 271-4090 l 900 East Avenue l Eastman House Café—stop in for a light dinner or dessert before the film. l Wi-Fi Hotspot l Sponsored by City 31

Profile for Rochester City Newspaper

June 20-26, 2012 - CITY Newspaper  

Cover: Bye bye unions? | News: Busy Maplewood library needs a new home | Chow Hound: Cure | Music: Silent Auction | Classical: Sarah McLachl...

June 20-26, 2012 - CITY Newspaper  

Cover: Bye bye unions? | News: Busy Maplewood library needs a new home | Chow Hound: Cure | Music: Silent Auction | Classical: Sarah McLachl...