Our guests last Sunday brought copies of Magic Mike and That’s My Boy. After dinner, we all lounged around and watched. I could barely tolerate Magic Mike but I finished it. Fifteen minutes into That’s My Boy, I stood up and started washing dirty drinking glasses. Speedy asked why I was washing the glasses (dishwashing is his chore) and I said I’d rather wash them than torture myself with that hellish film.
But let me start with Magic Mike. I’ve seen the trailer, Matthew McConaughey’s exaggerated muscles made my eyes roll in boredom but, hey, it’s a Steven Soderbergh film so I was willing to give it a go. Everyone started chatting about how well Channing Tatum danced, I didn’t even know the guy could dance (I only saw him in G.I. Joe and Dear John, and he danced in neither), Sam and Alex said he was in Step Up (which I haven’t seen) then someone mentioned that he was a stripper before he was an actor. Whoa.
So, okay, I watched. Magic Mike is a story about male strippers and Channing Tatum is a good dancer. But that was about the only part of the movie that was good. Oh, and Olivia Munn who breathed life into a minor character that would have probably gone unremembered, if not unnoticed, were it not for Munn’s persona that resonated through the screen.
And the rest of the film? The story was shallow (hell knows, it could have been more), the characters were not explored and there was so much stereotyping that seemed to me to border on some moralistic lecture. Strippers equals drugs equals doom. Plus… couldn’t they have gotten someone other than Matthew McConaughey? In fact, couldn’t they have gotten someone else to play the role of leading-lady Brooke (one of the stripper’s older sister) other than that Cody Horn? Heck, Cody Horn as Brooke… I don’t remember seeing a more colorless character nor a more colorless actress trying to portray her. She was just too terrible and that is being kind.
Still, I sat through the entire film. Which means it was tolerable. Barely. But still tolerable. A word I can’t use when describing That’s My Boy or, at least, the first fifteen minutes of it which were all I could manage without throwing up. Even before the fifteen minutes were up, I found myself asking — quite rhetorically and addressing no one in particular — what stupid producer could be so stupid as to put together a stupid film like that? My brother-in-law, Buddy, said Adam Sandler himself — the star of the film.
That’s My Boy opens with a 14-year-old boy, Donny, who has an affair with his 22-year-old teacher which lands her in prison where she gives birth to their son. The 14-year-old father becomes an overnight celebrity because he was idolized by a society that glorified 14-year-olds who could sexually satisfy a 22-year-old woman. Donny names his son Han Solo, eventually loses contact with him and the son changes his name. On the day Han meets his fiancee’s family, his father, now a has-been re-enters his life. That was all I could manage. What happened after that, I didn’t give a hoot.
It’s not the sexual tone of the film (or, at least, the first part of it) that I object to. I’ve seen a lot of sexuality in films, some good and others bad, but nothing quite as crass and as low. Adam Sandler didn’t use to be this tacky. The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and Bedtime Stories were at least entertaining enough if only to pass the time. How he could have sunk to the depths of depravity called That’s My Boy, I haven’t got a clue. I’ve spent a lot of good hours watching bad movies but, heck, I always said we all have to see bad movies sometimes to truly appreciate the good ones. In short, no regrets. But, oh boy, do I regret the fifteen minutes I spent watching That’s My Boy. I should have walked out after the first five minutes. Seriously.