Originally posted on May 7, 2012
I wonder just how desperate Adam Sandler is for a hit movie. It has been a while for him. Most of his films have not done well, and of those that have most are not well regarded.
For some reason Sandler seems to take the Homer Simpson approach to his films: if a certain style does not work the first time, try the same style again and again and again and again. I do not think Sandler even believes people will suddenly like his films. I think he makes them just because he and his friends find his brand of humor funny.
That sort of explains Sandler’s new film That’s My Boy:
Yes, child rape is absolutely hilarious. It is funny when teachers use their power to manipulate teenage boys into having sex.
At least that is the message Sandler wants the audience to get.
I do not think anything is above being made fun of. There are many ways to take a serious situation like child rape and write something funny that involves that scenario. Louis CK did a great skit about the Catholic Church.
But that it is not what Sandler did, and I have seen enough Sandler movies to know that. What he did was take the situation itself and go “See, it’s funny!” and build a ridiculous scenario around it. If you want a sense of what he likely did, go watch the scene from Anger Management where his character gets his pants pulled down in front of all the neighborhood kids. The joke was not what Sandler’s character became as a result of that experience (hyper-sensitive about public displays of affection, but that he was publicly embarrassed.
Thankfully, Sandler’s new film received some criticism:
“Hollywood is becoming so dysfunctional that it can’t even produce humor without being crass and twisted,” Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture for the Media Research Center. “Since when did child molestation and rape become the stuff of humor?”
Others doubt the movie would have been green-lighted had genders been switched, with a male teacher seducing his thirteen-year-old female student.
“That would have been billed as a tragedy. I hope the film ends with the teacher (if released from prison) registering as a sex offender. These crimes are grossly under reported because our society encourages this double standard,” said Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Dr. Nancy Irwin. “I am gravely concerned about the message and tacit permission teenage males will take away from irresponsible filmmaking like this. Children from this sort of relationship frequently have issues to sort through that are far from funny.”
[...] “I can’t imagine the film being made if the roles were reversed and it was a male teacher and underage female,” says movie producer and author Mark Joseph, who added that while its a comedian’s job to find humor in any situation, his concern is whether the film will glorify such an incident.
What is sad is not even that the film got green-lit, but that people still have to explain why raping a boy is a bad thing, not a rite of passage. This is 2012, and we are still explaining this.
I am a little tired of explaining it, so I will let Dr. Keith Ablow do it for me:
Remember all the jokes about John Wayne Bobbitt being castrated by his wife after she found out that he had had an affair? It was the stuff of late night comedy routines and one-liners at the water cooler.
People even chuckled when he hopelessly tried to regain his image as a man by working in the adult film industry for a while.
Well, imagine late night comics doing stand-up routines about a woman being maimed genitally because her
husband is angry she had an affair, who then becomes a porn star people gawk at.
Does that sound funny? Not so much, huh?
If we want a culture that protects girls and cherishes women’s rights, we’d better stop denigrating the sexuality of boys and men. And there’s no better place to start than boycotting Adam Sandler forever and his film “That’s My Boy” right now.
Let this be Adam Sandler’s well-earned legacy: He tried to make it funny for 13-year-olds to be raped.
UPDATE: It looks like Sandler’s latest outing bombed in theaters.