Somehow I wish my dad was like this.
While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up.
To be truly honest, I was somewhat looking forward to this flick. Adam Sandler has been in a down-fall as of late, but this one had promise because it was directed by someone new (Sean Anders of Sex Drive), has another big-name that is on the verge of being the new “comedic bad boy” that Sandler once was, and is rated-R. I know I can’t get myself hyped up for something just because it’s rated-R but it’s Sandler we’re talking about here! This guy is freakin’ hilarious when it comes to this stuff, right?
The main problem with this flick is that a lot the comedy is in bad taste. This is something that many comedies can pull off if they can do it in a smart way that can make you laugh, here, it’s done terribly wrong as if the idea of this film was to just horrify the audience. The first 5 minutes of this film is dedicated to a relationship between a twelve-year-old student and his adult teacher, and if that doesn’t get you right away, trust me, there is plenty more to disturb you. For me, I wasn’t all that disturbed by everything here because I feel like anything goes whenever you’re making a comedy but it doesn’t work here since all of the raunchy and vile stuff that the writers were throwing at us, were just for the sake of doing so. It almost felt like it was forcing itself to be raunchy in order to be funny, which bothered me because when you have a guy like Sandler, you shouldn’t have to force any type of comedy regardless of what the film may be.
It’s terribly raunchy and dirty but the film isn’t anything different from what we’ve already seen from any other Sandler comedy. All of the conventions we have come to expect, and probably hate by now, are here and in force the whole way through such as the hair metal music soundtrack, the random D-list celebrities who show up here just to make a quick buck, the women who are all made out to be either bitches, whores, gold-diggers, or just complete psychopaths, gross-out gags, and the annoying schmaltz that creeps up by the end and tells you about how “family is important”, aka the same exact theme behind every single one of Sandler’s productions. Yeah, it’s all pretty obvious and even though it did have me chuckle every once and a blue moon, the film still missed the mark on every other single joke it tried to make.
I guess what really bugged me about this whole film was how unfunny Adam Sandler was here. Sandler plays Donny, a total dirt bag that obviously can’t connect with his son, nor with his son’s richy-rich friends and acquaintances but just wants to have a good time and get some moolah in the meantime. This doesn’t sound so bad for a Sandler character but the problem with Donny is that he’s kind of annoying, and Sandler’s frat-boy antics don’t quite work out as well when you’re pushing 45. The voice Donny has is this Boston-like, high-pitched voice that just got on my nerves right from the start and every joke that he makes is hard to understand due to this. But Sandler may have to stop with these types of roles sooner or later because even though they worked incredibly well back in the 90′s/early 00′s, they are starting to seem too obvious for him now as if he just wants to go back and try to bring back that glory he once had.
I sure as hell hope that Andy Samberg didn’t leave SNL for this shit because this guy really gets screwed over here as Donny’s son, Todd/Han Solo. Samberg is pretty good at playing the straight-man but he’s never fully able to let loose of his crazy-boy antics that he shows off so well in everything else he does, and a lot of that is mostly given to Sandler. But surprisingly, the funniest cast member of this whole film has to be Vanilla Ice playing himself and actually really open to making fun of himself. Ice is probably the funniest/best thing of this whole flick and he doesn’t do much other than just be a total nut case. Also, he allows a couple of “Ice Ice Baby” jokes here and there as well, something I was not expecting from his side one bit.
Consensus: That’s My Boy is a raunchy comedy that’s done in terribly bad taste, but also isn’t very funny, features the usual antics and gags we expect from an Adam Sandler comedy, and squanders the comedic talent that lies within Andy Samberg, only to give it to random d-listers like Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges.
Now I thought Amanda Bynes was a pretty good looking Jesus freak, but damn was I ever so wrong!
Good girl Mary (Jena Malone) can’t believe it when she gets pregnant by her newly-gay boyfriend. She also can’t believe the actions of her popular, relentlessly devout best friend, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), who’s looking after her wheelchair-bound brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin), attempting to convert adamantly Jewish Cassandra (Eva Amurri), and trying to snag cute newcomer Patrick (Patrick Fugit), a hip skateboarding missionary.
You would think that a film about a born-again Christian getting knocked up would be comedy writing itself. But writer/director Brian Dannelly is more about getting in touch with the big issues with religion and the results are fairly successful. Hell actually, a lot better considering Mandy Moore is in one of the leading roles.
What I liked most about Dannelly’s script here is that he goes for some big punches by poking a lot of jokes at fundamentalism, faith, and the people that believe so fanatically in it but he does it in a way that doesn’t offend anyone really. It’s much like ‘Dogma’ in the way that its just showing religion/faith for what it is and even though it may poke a couple of jokes at how crazy and energized up these certain people can be that are behind it, he never really bashes them. The humor is very funny in a satirical way where we see how everybody in this high school is all about the big G.O.D., but at the same time, they aren’t necessarily being the best people that they think God wants them to be. Then again though, that’s the point of the flick.
We can’t always live up to God’s expectations as to whether or not we are doing the right thing in his eyes just about 24/7. It’s definitely a lot harder to ask that out of teenagers more than adults considering we have so much evil and bad things around us that seems so easy to just do what we think is fun or the right thing for us to do. Still though, we can still be happy and be loved by God even if we may mess up every once and awhile because honestly, who’s perfect in today’s world. Donald Trump? Barack Obama? Oprah Winfrey? Don’t worry I’m not a huge believer in faith but I can definitely say that certain people are a lot pushier with it than they have any right to be in the first place.
The film isn’t just a satire about faith and the people it, it’s also a sweet, little coming-of-age story that I thought had some nice touches here and there. Dannelly gives this film a little relaxed feel to it where everybody lives close to one another in this suburban town of Maryland, and they all have different things going on in their lives except for one thing, The Holy Spirit. I liked this because it was a good coming-of-age teen comedy that didn’t try to do anything new with itself but at the same time didn’t try to be another one of those lame-o high school flicks that get old by the 20-minute mark.
My problem that I had with this flick was that as funny and as biting as it sometimes was, the last act really disappoints. I like the fact that Dannelly didn’t try to bash any religion or the people behind it but at the same time, he makes enough jokes at them throughout the whole flick and then tries to say that he’s sorry by giving everybody a nice reconciliation. This seemed a little too neat for my liking considering how biting this film and its satire could be and it just seemed like Dannelly took the easy way out rather than just trying to go for anything edgy or different for that matter. The film’s last act is also filled with just about barely any humor whatsoever, but then again, I don’t really think they were trying to go with that either. It’s just a shame though that a film can be mocking a subject at one point and then by the end, just teeter out and try to ask for its forgiveness for making jokes in the first place.
As for this nice, young cast, they all do pretty good jobs as well. Jena Malone is a perfect fit for Mary because her face shows that she is both naive about what she should do with her future but also determined to do the right thing, which makes it so much easier to like her character right from the start; Mandy Moore is a blast to watch as Hilary Faye because she’s just one of those pretentious, goodie-goodie, rich, pretty, and self-centered chicks that you just want to see get knocked out and told who’s boss but she’s also very funny by how serious she is and it’s just a surprise as well that Moore gives a good performance considering she does do a lot of crap; Macaulay Culkin and Eva Amurri probably have the best scenes together in this flick and it’s a real surprise why none of their careers never really lift off after this; and Patrick Fugit is nice to watch as Patrick, a kid that knows all of the right things to say but just can’t get the girl that he wants. However, if it came down to a choice between Mandy Moore and Jena Malone, I’m sorry but I would have to say Moore. Actually, it’s not that hard of a decision in the first place.
Consensus: Saved! features a lot of funny satire that has a sweet coming-of-age story behind it that works, but by the end it starts to teeter back and ends a little too cleanly. Young cast that makes it definitely worth watching more though.