Anyone who’s grown up and lived through Thanksgiving dinner knows how challenging family can be. In some cases, family is often its own situational comedy, as it is in the film That’s My Boy. Pairing Adam Sandler with Andy Samberg, That’s My Boy tells the story of a particularly screwed-up father/son relationship and how they come to terms with each other. Donny (Sandler) was in high school when he fathered Todd (Samberg) in an ill-advised — and illegal — affair with his sizzling hot teacher, who went to jail for the caper, leaving Donny to parent all by himself. Now grown and a successful executive on Wall Street, Todd hasn’t seen his dad in years. But with the IRS dogging Donny for tens of thousands of dollars, Todd is about to have the limits of what it means to be family put to the test.
Director Sean Anders saw that there was a universal quality to Todd that Samberg brought out brilliantly and to great effect. “Todd has a quality that we all have to some degree — that mixture of love for his family but also a bit embarrassed about his family,” Anders explains. “His character takes that to an extreme.”
For Samberg, that duality of simultaneous love and shame with regard to family is at the heart of That’s My Boy. “This movie is about accepting who you are and where you come from — even if that’s flawed — rather than trying to be something you’re not,” he says. “We all have skeletons in our closet, some more than others. But family is important, no matter how screwy it is.”
It must be, if Todd is going to be able to cope with his father’s recklessly hilarious irresponsibility. “Donny is wild, he’s crazy, he has horrible judgment, but he’s a really good guy, and he’s a joyful guy,” Anders says. “He’s that friend that everybody has who just makes friends with everyone and anyone. He’s just OK with whatever anybody’s doing. His capacity for joy allows the audience to forgive him a lot of his mistakes and bad judgment.”
That’s My Boy is available starting Oct. 16 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
Photo: © 2012 CTMG