The magical R-rating is both a gift and a curse to Adam Sandler's signature brand of lowbrow humor. In That's My Boy the comedian returns to the dim-witted roots that made him a star in early outings like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore (complete with high-pitched mushmouth accent) but with a ramped up "ew" factor. Unrestrained Sandler piles on as many expletives and gross-out scenarios as a two-hour movie can hold — and it works out quite well. With costar Samberg nailing the disgusted straight man role Sandler's penchant for acting like a fool is enhanced by the sick stylings of director Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and only occasionally teetering into truly offensive territory. Laughs aren't guaranteed but the movie provokes (which is a big step up from Jack and Jill).
Back in the '80s Donny had a secret relationship with his teacher Ms. McGarricle that resulted in a son Han Solo (he's a middle schooler what do you expect?). The torrid affair put McGarricle in jail Donny into celebrity tabloid spotlight and Han Solo in the hands of a tween father. Thirty years later everyone's screwed up: Donny (Adam Sandler) is a drunk on the brink of jail time for tax evasion McGarricle's still in jail and Han Solo (Andy Samberg) now "Todd " is a successful number-cruncher with severe social issues. On the weekend of Todd's wedding Donny reenters his life hoping to bring revive their relationship and reunite him with his mother — that is on camera so Donny can make $50 000 from a gossip TV show and stay out of the slammer. Posing as Todd's long-lost best friend Donny stirs up trouble becoming buddies with Todd's friends and family and acting like a imbecile.
The wedding setup is overdone but always prime for comedy: plenty for a numbskull to screw up logical progression (there's a wedding at the end!) and a bachelor party scene to squeeze in the most disgusting bits and have them make sense. That's My Boy makes the most of its conventions — including what we all know and expect from a Sandler comedy — by continually one-upping itself. After a night of heavy drinking at the local strip club/omelette bar that results in do-it-yourself ear piercing and robbing a convenience store with Vanilla Ice Todd returns home to expel the night's worth of drinking all over his fiancee's wedding dress. Then he makes love to the dress. Then his fiancee (Leighton Meester) wakes up to find the dress. Then it goes even further than one would care to imagine. Grossed out yet? Amazingly lower-than-low brow material is handled with clever timing and great delivery. It's just that the foundation is bodily fluids.
That's My Boy falters when it throws in gags that serve zero purpose to the story. Strange racist humor a mentally retarded bar patron played by Nick Swardson (a Sandler mainstay) random allusions to Todd Bridges' drug habits — barrel-scraping one-offs that have nothing to do with the movie. At two hours the movie needs slimming and the fat is apparent. Thankfully the main ensemble goes to great lengths to make the hard R comedy click with Sandler and Samberg playing well off each other (although Samberg doesn't have the making of a leading man after this movie) and SNL alums like Will Forte Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer driving by to bring the funny. Even Vanilla Ice's extended cameo fits the anything-goes tone playing a version of himself that befriended Donny in his celebrity days. Now he works at an ice skating rink.
After a few lame ducks That's My Boy is a return to form for Sandler. It wavers in quality but it has energy and color. A cash-in this is not and for any Sandler fan with a stomach for hardcore bathroom humor it's a must-see.
Much of the action on season one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — a franchise far superior to the one we're currently watching — revolved around words said in an off-camera phone call between Camille Grammer and Kyle Richards that could never be confirmed, because both women refused to change their story. The personalities of those characters and the other plots driving that season made the never-ending war of the phone call fun to watch, but witnessing a similar event on an older franchise with women who have been fighting the same battle for years is another story. If LuAnn and Ramona keep circulating round this ridiculous, impossible to confirm phone call, Real Housewives of New York fans will soon be driven nuttier than Kelly "Top Five Nicest Celebrity" Bensimon.
That being said, last night's Central Park showdown gets a pass, but only because Ramona got so flustered that she offered up the most absurd non-sequitur I've seen in years. Also, hi — I'm Shaunna, and I'll be taking over for Housewives aficionado and UGGS enthusiast Brian Moylan as he gallivants through Canada or something. He'll be back next week, but until then let's dig in to whatever it was that happened on Housewives last night. Did anything happen? That's depends on your definition of "happen", but at least we found out that Heather is Jewish by injection.
As a fun little "getting to know you" exercise, Heather and the woman I will also refer to as Que Viva went on a double date with their husbands, where we found out three very important things: First, that Heather's husband is in fact not related to Oskar Schindler, the legendary German industrialist credited for saving 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. I'm sorry, but if someone on the Bravo network was directly related to someone that selfless I think my brain would explode. We also learned that Heather is "Jewish by injection", which according to Urban Dictionary is a slang term for a Gentile who has had a lot of sex with a Jewish person. Raise your hand if you ever want to hear about Heather's sex life ever again.
Finally, we got to hear Heather's husband Jonathan say that Que Viva's ex-husband Harry slept with both Sonja and LuAnn. This was a total given for Sonja, who later flirted with Peter Griffin's handyman cousin and forgets to wear pants to her own parties. But LuAnn? I'm still not sold. The woman who wrote the lyrics "You can tell where someone's been, Without even asking him, He's either rude or has some style and panache" would never hook up with Sonja's toaster-cooked leftovers.
Actually, another big Housewives faux pas occurred as a result of Heather and Que Viva's dinner: Que Viva told the camera that she didn't approve of Heather's hands-free parenting style. This is fair, because Heather's son could totally date New Jersey's five-year-old psychopath Milania. Heather didn't hear Que Viva say this, but the following scene should prepare Que Viva for the consequences of insulting a Housewife's parenting style — Viva darling, you will be hearing about this for the rest of your life. Remember when Jill and LuAnn said something or other about Alex McCord's little terrors? Yeah, that went on for three years.
Anyway, Ramona and LuAnn met in the park to discuss the supposed blackmail incident, but it didn't go well because in Ramona's house no one talked, you see. They just yelled and screamed, so she has a hard time and LuAnn talks down to her and is not nice and not civil and Pinot Grigio and house parties and so on and so forth. It was really great seeing Ramona scream "you're not listening!" to LuAnn, who maybe got ten words in during their entire conversation. Ramona denied blackmailing LuAnn during the aforementioned off-screen phone call, and reiterated that LuAnn is an absentee parent who leaves little baggies of cocaine for her wayward children while Ramona takes mother-daughter knitting classes with Avery. This went on and on and on and my head started to block things out until LuAnn said, "What other dirty tricks do you have to pull out of your Pinot-filled ass?" At this point you could see Ramona's eyes do that thing, so she spit out some line about having no time to get a manicure, which had nothing to do with anything LuAnn had said and was awesome. "Actually, I do this new thing, it last three weeks. It's like a shellac. It's pretty good. Actually. Which is why." This is an exact quote.
Next Carole met up with Que Viva, her number one fan, at an upscale vintage shop. There we learned that Carole has a no strings attached sort-of relationship with Russ Irwin, who tours with Aerosmith for months at a time. Carole was totally cool with it, and even hit on a 20-something model to prove just how easy-breezy her relationship was. She just doesn't keep track of "those types of things." (Which means she silently celebrates each month's anniversary, waiting for the gift that will never come.) Que Viva, for her part, would never. Her mouth said, "You're so cool," but her face said "the idea of being without my husband for a weekend is giving me anxiety." You guys — Que Viva's obvious neurosis are going to come out, and soon.
We got to see just how totally awesome and cool and nonchalant and laid-back and "insert word for middle-aged people who want to act like 20-somethings here" Carole and Russ' relationship was when he picked her up for a late-night drive through the city, after an especially blah trip to Los Angeles. "You didn't miss anything in LA, because it's always the same," he said. "It's like Groundhog's Day." Deep. Their drive and the accompanying music reminded me of Taxicab Confessions, and now I'm embarrassed that I left New York for Los Angeles, because I care about what Russ and Carole think of me.
Let's get to Sonja: The poor, lovable floozy's house was in a state of disrepair. She hired some builders or fixers or whatever they're called to reduce the mess, and made a big show about Hurricane Irene and her intern's boobs to impress the "hot" handyman Rich — she wanted to cook for him in her toaster oven. I think that's a sexual thing. The main takeaway from this scene was that Sonja has her live-in intern call her "Mrs. Morgan." Let that one sink in.
Later, after terrible Heather threw a party for her VERY recently-deceased father in the Berkshires — which was touching, if a little strange — Que Viva officially joined Team Ramona when she joined the wailing wino for lunch. Viva didn't like it when LuAnn tried to get the newbies on her side by gossiping about Ramona behind her back, because she greatly prefers the kind of person who stabs you in the front. I do too, but Viva has absolutely no clue what she's getting herself into here. Befriending an honest, straightforward communicator is one thing, getting in bed with Ramona is something else entirely. Something dark; something that can only be understood after three and a half bottles and several hours of deep hypnosis. Anywho, Ramona stressed that LuAnn needed to get a job, because her YouTube "singing career" wasn't keeping her occupied enough to leave Ramona alone. Ugh, Ramona. The jealousy is crystal clear. Maybe Ramona can duet with Melissa Gorga at the next reunion.
Finally, it was time for a Housewives staple: An LGBT event, where Sonja was to present a prestigious award. Ramona finally got an opportunity to bond with Carole, and was very impressed when she learned that Carole was an ABC spokesperson. ABC spokespeople get to hang out with Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer, and those are the top people. No, Ramona — don't you know what network you're on? Andy Cohen is the top people. Thirty lashes and five Hail Marys. Sonja was too busy living it up in the green room to make her cue, and this dramatic event was presented by Bravo as a commercial-break cliffhanger. Geez, where is Alison DuBois when you need her? Eventually Sonja made it, and adequately presented the award for... Best Outdoor Camping. No, seriously — that was it. Sonja congratulated herself on a job well done, danced with some drag queens, and the city went to sleep.
Be sure to check back for Brian's recap next week, because it looks like Mario might hit on Carole. Escándalo!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: BRAVO]
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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all...hell is about to break loose! It starts when a snowstorm grounds all planes at Chicago’s fictional Hoover International Airport. Nobody’s happy to be potentially spending Xmas at an airport but least of all are the Davenport siblings Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) and his little sis Katherine (Dominique Saldana) as well as airport security boss Oliver (Lewis Black). The two kids are escorted to the airport’s “Unaccompanied Minors Lounge ” where kids run wild and terrorize pushover Zach Van Bourke (Wilmer Valderrama) who acts as chief airport babysitter. One look at the madness is all it takes for Spencer and Katherine to bust out along with fellow kiddie anarchists Charlie (Tyler James Williams) Timothy (Brett Kelly) Donna (Quinn Shephard) and Grace (Gina Mantegna). They embark on a pratfall-heavy game of cat and mouse with Oliver who is the Grinch to their collective Santa Clause as they try and salvage Christmas--and their families. Unaccompanied Minors makes some odd but admirable choices when it comes to the cast with virtually every single actor attempting a “Frat Pack” mutiny--Daily Show mainstay Black is joined by “correspondent” Rob Corddry as the Davenports’ Hummer-hating dad not to mention parts from The Office’s B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling Arrested Development’s Tony Hale and Jessica Walter SNL’s Rob Riggle and Kristen Wiig Paget Brewster David Koechner and a rare Kids in the friggin’ Hall (Kevin McDonald Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney) sighting. But the “Who’s that?” cameos aside the screen time is hogged by Black Valderrama and the children. Black the notoriously vulgar curmudgeon of a comedian shows great range and skill by dulling his shtick down but not so much that the kids watching won’t crack up while Valderrama’s performance is the same as his role--that of a bumbling easily overmatched lackey. With all the proverbial child actors in the mix it can seem a little Star Search-y but Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) steals most scenes with his amazing overall talent while Mantegna (Joe’s daughter) fares well too. Kelly (the bullied kid in Bad Santa) is exploited for his physicality and Christopher will likely go on to be a great actor even if he seems too seasoned at such a young age. The reason for the off-the-beaten-path cast is simple: director Paul Feig. The occasional actor has in the past directed episodes of The Office and the late Arrested Development Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks. It also might explain why he fell for a script--by Jacob Meszaros and Mya Stark--that takes a few stabs at grown-up comedy (i.e. Corddry’s character has a car that runs on vegetable oil). Such jokes will be lost on the exclusively preadolescent audience but almost all else will reel them in. Feig also seems adept at making the oft-unfunny (physical pratfalls) somewhat funny and he does so with little mention of bodily functions. Of course he stays true to the formula but all kid flicks are the ultimate exercises in contrivance--Feig just chooses to treat the viewers like kids instead of idiots.
Ignacio (Jack Black) has never been particularly adept at anything but he has great passion for the things that matter to him: cooking and wrestling. Growing up in a Mexican orphanage ‘Nacho’ always dreamt of becoming a “luchador”--the term for a Mexican wrestler--and he even had the paunch to boot but alas it was highly forbidden by the religious orphanage. Now grown up he works as a chef for the only home he has ever known. He’s subjected to constant criticism at the hands of monks for the slop he calls food but claims he isn’t paid enough for quality ingredients. So as he sees it his only solution for more money is to pursue the forbidden fruit of becoming a luchador. He picks up a rail-thin peasant (Hector Jimenez) along the way to form a tag-team duo. Together they’re so horrendous that fans line up just for a laugh. But that makes them underdogs and we all know the fate of underdog characters in movies.
Jack Black maybe the best comedic actor of his extraordinarily gifted generation is a sight to behold. In Nacho Libre his mere pose which invariably sees him showcasing his belly as if a trophy is enough to arouse laughter. But once he opens his mouth forget it! Nacho’s broken English-and-Spanish dialect is tailor-made for Black as is his character’s penchant to break into Tenacious D-style song to profess his love for a nun (Ana de la Reguera). The problems with Black are due to his improper utilization at times (see “direction”) not his performance which is about as flawlessly inane as verbal/physical comedy gets. He taps into mania with an ease that hasn’t been seen since John Belushi. As Nacho’s equally hopeless sidekick Esqueleto Jimenez garners his fair share of laughs thanks mostly to the wrestling scenes. But his high-pitched yelps forced ineptitude and blank expressions grow old quickly.
Director Jared Hess should’ve quit after his first feature Napoleon Dynamite. Only because expectations for his follow-up in this case Libre simply cannot be met. That said he doesn’t only make sophomore mistakes; there is promise and talent on full display here. For instance Hess again exhibits an ability to find and/or create the most outlandish characters from the star all the way down to the unknown Mexican extras. But even at just over 90 minutes long the film drags and seems like a hilarious skit stretched way too far. That’s because although conceptually hilarious the story (which Hess co-wrote with wife Jerusha and veteran Mike White) is as thin as Nacho is portly. And as Hess has learned the hard way with bigger budgets come bigger constraints such as not-so-subtle humor (fart jokes pratfalls) to appease the teen masses. Hess’ fatal flaw however despite what will again be an underrated offbeat effort was to not stray further from his trademark movie thus keeping the animal that is Black caged--albeit in a large cage.
Undoubtedly motivated by a record-breaking box office weekend take of $114 million, Sony Pictures has set the opening date for its Spider-Man sequel. Spider-Man 2 will swing its way into theaters May 7, 2004 with stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst reprising their roles as Spider-Man and Mary Jane, The Associated Press reports. The film, which is based on Stan Lee's popular comic-book series, broke several box office records since its release Friday, including best single day gross and biggest per-screen average in history for a wide release.
High-powered multimedia mogul David Geffen is donating $200 million to the medical school at University of California, Los Angeles, which will now be called the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, according to AP. Geffen, the "G" in DreamWorks SKG, has donated to medical-related causes before: He gave $2.5 million to AIDS Project Los Angeles, $2.5 million to the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York and $1.4 million to AIDS Action in Washington.
Ali director Michael Mann wants Tom Hanks to star in his next film about the Roman invasion of Britain. According to Ananova.com, Mann wants Hanks to play Julius Caesar. Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Colin Firth are also tipped to feature in the film.
Robert De Niro is set to reprise his role in Warner Bros.' sequel to the 1999 crime comedy Analyze This, aptly titled Analyze That. The film will reunite De Niro with Raging Bull co-star Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, who will play a mob widow who takes over her late husband's business, Variety reports. De Niro will resume his role as the emotionally troubled Paul Vitti.
In the Biz
Director David Fincher (Panic Room) is in discussions to helm a remake of the 1975 supernatural thriller The Reincarnation of Peter Proud for Paramount Pictures. According to Variety, the project got off the ground last year when studio-based producer Scott Rudin optioned the rights for the remake.
Real-life heroine Erin Brockovich has settled a libel lawsuit by her ex-husband, Reno, Nev., stockbroker Steven Michael Brockovich, the AP reports. In the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in March 2001, Brockovich accused his ex-wife of libel, slander, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress for stating in two publications that he didn't pay child support for their daughter.
The World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. has dropped its WWF name for a new moniker. The company will now be known as World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., or WWE, Reuters reports. WWF officials cited the company's losing battle with the World Wildlife Fund over the infamous initials as a factor for the switch, Reuters reports.
MTV has ordered eight half-hour episodes of a musical sketch/comedy show from the Bomb-itty boys--GQ, Jordan Allen-Dutton, Erik Weiner (aka Red Dragon) and J.A.Q.--the writing/performing team of the Off Broadway hit The Bomb-itty of Errors, Variety reports. The show is slated to air this fall.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, schlemiel, schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams will reunite for Laverne & Shirley Together Again. The show will air at 8 p.m. tonight on ABC.
Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, the TV production company behind That '70s Show, will cut up to 25 percent of its staff over the next few weeks, according to Variety. A spokesman for CWM said the cuts are part of an effort to keep the company a lean, profitable operation in a competitive TV environment.
Michael Jackson, Tonos Entertainment and AOL have launched a songwriting contest offering fans a chance to collaborate with the self-proclaimed King of Pop, the AP reports. Jackson will record the winning submission, possibly including it on an upcoming album. All proceeds will go to children's charities. The contest runs through June 10.
The family of an Argentinean pop star who was killed in a rollover accident while driving his 1998 Ford Explorer on June 24, 2000, is suing Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. The family filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Miami after a Buenos Aires court ruled that the singer, Rodrigo Bueno, was at fault.
Norwegian director Even Benestad's documentary on his transvestite doctor father, Alt om min far (All About My Father) has won top honors at the 9th annual HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Variety reports. Montreal's Andre-Line Beauparlant took home the director's honor.
Comedian/writer Judy Toll died Thursday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., after a long battle with melanoma. She was 44. Toll most recently served as a consultant on HBO's Sex and the City, Variety reports.