Oscar Wilde’s famous story The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a dissolute young man who retains his youthful beauty as his portrait, hidden in the attic, shows his face becoming more aged and corrupt. I can’t help thinking that somewhere there is a young Adam Sandler while we watch his screen persona grow more and more repulsively scrofulous. As revolting as this movie is — and it is truly and deeply loathsome — that isn’t the worst part. More offensive than the disgusting attempts at humor that debase every life form is the utter contempt for the audience that shows in every lazy and incompetent frame and line of dialogue, with Sandler’s lines all said in that horrible comic voice he uses to show he is playing a stupid person. And more depressing than all of that is the horrific sight of Sandler’s insistence on creating the most unpleasant character imaginable and then having all of the other characters find him irresistible.
I have no problem with humor that is politically incorrect or even offensive (see my review of “The Dictator”) if there is some intelligence behind it and some point to be made. But this movie’s “comedy” has less wit than a two-year old making diaper jokes. He is not pushing boundaries and challenging assumptions. He is making fun of fat naked people. It is vile.
Sandler plays Donny, a man who was seduced by his middle school teacher (Eva Amurri Martino) when he was 12. She became pregnant, and since she was serving a 30-year sentence, he got custody of their son before he was in high school. And so he named the baby “Han Solo” and gave him candy for breakfast. Most of the movie takes place when the boy, now using the name “Todd Peterson” (Andy Samberg) is about to get married to Jamie (Leighton Meester, looking like Winnie from “The Wonder Years”). He has told everyone his parents were killed in an explosion and has done his best to be the responsible grown-up his father never was. He is a successful hedge fund manager staying at the home of the wealthy boss (Tony Orlando!) he hopes will make him a partner. The boss has an elderly mother, of course. Another one of Sandler’s obsessions is sex with old ladies.
Donny, who has blown through all of the money he made selling his story for a made-for-TV movie (starring Ian Ziering), will have to go to prison if he can’t get $43,000 for the IRS. His only hope is to get Han/Todd to go visit his mother in prison so he can sell the reunion footage to a reality television show. Donnie tracks down his son at the boss’ home the weekend of the wedding and causes many scenes of excruciating and un-funny mayhem. The jokes about Donny and Vanilla Ice(!) having sex with an octogenarian and bother-sister incest(!) are idiotic enough, but Sandler’s need to portray his pustulant character as charming, lovable, and sexy is downright creepy. At times, I amused myself by pretending it was a horror film. That was as close to being amused as I got.
Parents should know that this film has constant extremely crude, disturbing and graphic humor including nudity and very explicit sexual references and situations, strippers and prostitutes, incest, drinking, drug use, potty humor, guns, comic peril, fight scenes, racial and gender humor, and very strong and explicit language.
Family discussion: What were the best and worst things Todd learned from Donny? Why didn’t Donny grow up?
If you like this, try: “Billy Madison” and “The Wedding Singer”
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