Super essay from City Art’s Armond White:
If you didn’t get the Memo to hate Adam Sandler, his new movie That’s My Boy would seem another likable, if minor, entry in his continuing series of unexpectedly challenging human comedies. The anti-Sandler Memo is a follow-the-leader pact-not literally a missive but an unconscious social ideology that protects Hollywood’s status quo. It perverts honest, healthy response to Sandler whose comic tendency is to affront the status quo in film after film. His spoofing of political correctness and middle-brow propriety is the real reason behind all the haterade which became ridiculous after last year’s ingenious, heartfelt Jack and Jill provoked an endless backlash of unprecedented lunacy and vitriol.
It’s payback because Sandler isn’t a bullyboy comic like Sasha Baron Cohen. Sandler looks at class embarrassment, a concept our cultural elite disdains but that his films trace to social and family relations (i.e.. personal responsibility). In That’s My Boy Sandler portrays blue collar slob Donny estranged from his yuppie son Todd (Andy Samberg). This looks like a Jerry Lewis stunt although the situation mostly recalls an ’80s father-son class comedy like the Tom Hanks-Jackie Gleason Nothing in Common. …
. Despite its deliberate ribaldry and outrage, That’s My Boy poignantly reminds the elite class of its forgotten virtues: Donny doesn’t want to be a sell-out, self-denying hypocrite like Todd. Sandler deals with Jewishness and humanness that enrages the media elite. Everywhere from The New York Times to Entertainment Wackly, the same reviewers praise raunch-fests like The Hangover and Bridesmaids while celebrating Todd Phillips, Larry Charles, Kristin Wiig and Judd Apatow as cultural heroes only because Sandler dares to express feelings about family, ethnicity, friendship-the realpolitik of genuine social interaction.
You’ll want to read it all.