It’s Father’s Day Weekend! What do you want to take your dad to see? Adam Sandler’s That’s My Boy or the Tom Cruise musical Rock of Ages? I know, it’s a hard choice. You’re probably better off watching Netflix or something.Rock of Ages
At its best, Rock of Ages courts ridicule so openly that it is all but immune to it. Indeed, the first few times the audience at my screening erupted into laughter it was hard to tell whether we were laughing with the film or at it.
But it’s the very fact that it so often teeters on the saccharine that makes this musical so darn sweet.
But with two vanilla leads and a deliberately corny and predictable kids-vs.-squares conflict for the story, there’s not much left to hang on to except the music — and how you feel about that music, all ’80s FM staples from bands such as Twisted Sister, Scorpions and Whitesnake, is critical.
Verdict: Skip That’s My Boy
Without the singalong campy energy of the live musical to justify its two-hour running length, Rock of Ages feels choppy, the story disconnected and wispy thin.
Merely presenting an appalling situation — That stripper is fat! That grandma is horny! That man has a potty mouth! — is not, by itself, funny. How do Sandler and his cohorts not realize this? Somehow stretched to an excruciating 116 minutes in length, the film offers seven or eight genuinely clever lines, but they are drowned out by the braying, pointless stupidity that surrounds them.
Watching Sandler in That’s My Boy, his latest assault on subtlety, good taste, and other values that a critic like me is supposed to trash the star for dumping on, I can’t say that I laughed a lot (though when I did laugh, it was big and loud).
The promise of the film lies in the interplay between Sandler and Samberg, but Samberg’s character is all tension and nerves, which works against his natural talents. He ends up coming off flat.
None of this makes “That’s My Boy” worth seeing, but if you do go and feel tempted to leave after the first hour, stick it out. If you suffer through the bad part, at least wait for the almost good part.