Vanilla Ice: Man, listen, Queen took 50 percent, Suge took the other 60 percent. I fuckin’ *owe* money when that shit gets played, man!
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
I usually hate to review bad comedies because there are only so many ways to say “this isn’t funny” over and over again. And bad raunchy comedies are on the same level if not worse as they try far harder to get a laugh and ends up being far more insufferable. This is one of those movies. Apparently, Adam Sandler enjoyed the Razzie wins from Jack and Jill so much he decided to try again with this movie. It got nominated for seven Razzies and won in two and if I’m being honest none of them were unwarranted.
The story takes place in 1984 and involves young teen Donny Berger who fathered a son as a result of a secret relationship with his teacher Mary McGarricle (Eva Martino). Their relationship was discovered and Mary was sentenced to 30 years in prison while custody of the baby was given to Donny’s father until Donny became of age. Over the years of Donny became a tabloid icon and enjoyed his moments of fame but turned out to be a horrible father to his son Han Solo Berger and at the age of 18 Han Solo (Andy Samberg) severed all ties with his father and changed his name to Todd Peterson. By 2012 present-day Donny (Adam Sandler) has become middle-aged and broke with only $28 to his name. He finds out he owes $43,000 in taxes and if he doesn’t pay up in a week he’s headed to prison. He places a bet on an obese runner at the Boston Marathon but knowing his chances are slim phones a talk show producer who offers him money to film a segment if Mary and Todd appear with him. Donny tracks down his son to Cape Cod where Todd is planning his wedding and as Todd is embarrassed by the scandalous past of his parents, he tells that his parents died and introduces Donny as an old friend. While there Donny tries to rekindle his relationship with his son and hope to get the money out of him.
Like most bad Adam Sandler movies, his voice is ANNOYING beyond belief. Something like this can be tolerable in a short sketch like his days on SNL but in a feature length movie it gets grating FAST! His character is from Boston although no one from Boston I’ve ever met talks like this. And I can guarantee the movie would have been improved if Adam didn’t use this voice. And it plays a huge part in the obnoxiousness and unlikability of his character.
The movie tries to play off the statutory rape at the beginning and Donny’s terrible treatment of Han Solo growing up including having him exposed to drug and alcohol abuse, having his back tattooed at the age of eight, forcing him to drive Donny home at a young age to avoid a DUI charge, and feeding him so much junk food that he became obese at a young age and developed diabetes all as funny. The problem is there is no joke to be found in any of this. When Todd angrily reminds his father of all this it’s pretty much a reminder of just how cruel and disturbing it really is. Rape, neglectful parents and childhood obesity and diabetes do exist and are real and serious. Even in today’s PC world, comedy can be found in certain uncomfortable areas. But there’s no reason to find any of this funny and as a result all of it ends up being the perversions they truly are.
And honestly if you think the relationship between Donny and his teacher at the beginning was disturbing it does not stop there. About halfway through Donny finds himself jerking off to a picture of the mother of his son’s boss from her swimsuit modeling days (right next to a recent picture). And it later results in him and Vanilla Ice both doing the deed with her. Neither of these aspects have really anything to do with the plot and just really gross the audience out. And then of course there’s the incest twist towards the end which really just makes me die inside.
This leads to another problem with the movie with that it is far longer than it’s supposed to. I’ve already mentioned the stuff to do with grandma but there’s also a scene involving the dress rehearsal at a church involving Todd getting into a fist fight with the officiating priest (James Caan). And honestly this would be funny…IF IT WEREN’T ALREADY IN HAPPY GILMORE WITH BOB BARKER! Did they honestly think no one would notice? I mean Happy Gilmore is one of Adam’s best. Heck half the name is in the title of his production company. This results in them being kicked from the church. Thankfully within a matter of matter of minutes they decide to hold the wedding by the beach in Todd’s boss’ backyard without much conflict. So what was the point of this again? This along with several other scenes could have been cut and the movie wouldn’t lose much in either plot or comedy.
As for the cast, I’ve already mentioned Sandler’s annoying voice but man there are just some people in this movie that are way too good for this movie including Susan Sarandon (although there is an upside to the casting decision in that the younger version of her character is played by her real life daughter), James Caan, and heck even Vanilla Ice as himself (who admittedly is the only one who gets the occasional chuckle). Andy Samberg can be moderately funny but his comedic talents are wasted here with him being the straight man. To his credit he’s the only likable character in the movie and outside of Sandler the cast really wasn’t part of the problem with this movie.
At the end of the day though this movie is just plain terrible. It’s supposed to be a comedy but it’s far more focused on making the audience uncomfortable as opposed to being funny. Even if this weren’t intentional it doesn’t change the fact that this whole movie is just horrendous writing. Honestly raunchy comedies can have some level of appeal but not like this.