It was only about three-quarters of the way through That’s My Boy, when my friend turned to me and said, “Wow, you look like you’re having a great time,” that I realized just how hard I had been clenching my jaw for 100 minutes.
It is only right now, inspecting the official list of Adam Sandler’s movies, that I realize this is only the second one I’ve ever seen. The first was The Wedding Singer. Yeah, yeah, so crucify me. I know what I like, and his movies have never even come close to falling into that category.
I had no idea.
Going into That’s My Boy, I knew it would be horrible and I knew I was extremely unlikely find it funny (I smiled twice during the film), but I thought I would simply be able to make sarcastic comments about how stupid it was. Instead, I left the theater disgusted and enraged. Let’s start with the premise itself, shall we?
Imagine this: A screenwriter walks into a movie executive’s office and says, “Hey, I have this great script for a comedy about a 13-year old girl who is raped by her teacher at the beginning of the movie, they start a relationship resulting in a child, and hilarity ensues.” That screenwriter is escorted out before you can say “I hate everyone involved in the making of this movie.”
So why is it acceptable — and not just acceptable, admirable – for a 13-year old boy to be raped by his teacher? In That’s My Boy, Miss McGarricle (Eva Amurri, playing the younger version of mom Susan Sarandon‘s character) takes little seventh grader Donny into detention, pulls the panicking child into her office, and rapes him. When they’re caught having sex, Donny gets a standing ovation from the entire middle school. He’s treated as a hero, not just by other students, but by the media, who put him on magazine covers and talk shows to discuss what a legend he is. Even as an adult, Donny Berger garners high fives wherever he goes for “living out every middle school kid’s fantasy.” This is so far beyond not okay.
A young boy having sex with a teacher, male or female, young or old, attractive or not, is called statutory rape, and That’s My Boy consistently and overtly calls a child abuse victim a hero. I just cannot imagine what universe people are living in to think that’s funny. And people did laugh, so if you have no soul, you will probably enjoy this film.
Okay, so we’ve already objectified children…let’s move on to women!