Follow TV Tropes


Film / That's My Boy

Go To

That's My Boy is a 2012 comedy film starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. The film centers on the character of Donny Berger (Sandler), a 12-year-old who becomes a national celebrity in the year 1984 after it's discovered that he's in a sexual relationship with his hot 22-year-old teacher, Mary McGarricle. Mary becomes pregnant from the affair, causing Donny to become a very young single father after she is sentenced to 30 years in prison. Flash forward to present day, where Donny is a washed-up loser who spends most of his time hanging out at the local strip club and is facing prison time for tax evasion (having not paid his taxes since the early 1990s). When he learns that his millionaire son, Han Solo Berger (Samberg) is getting married, he makes a deal with a reality TV show host to reunite Han Solo with his mother so that he'll have enough money to avoid going to jail. But first, Donny must make amends with his son, whom he has not spoken to in years.


That's My Boy provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Donny's father who is shown to have punched Donny in the face and called him a dumbass after he accidentally impregnates his teacher. It is even implied that he did not support Donny in raising his new grandson. This is Played for Laughs.
  • Adam Westing: In the film Vanilla Ice is portrayed as a washed-up rapper who now works as a fry cook at an ice skating rink, while in real life he's a successful house flipper and motocross racer who has made considerable amounts of money from both endeavors. His supervisor is Todd Bridges, who's also playing himself in an exaggeration of the washed-up celebrity/child star stereotype.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Donny first appeared in the 1999 audio skit by Adam Sandler called The Psychotic Legend of Uncle Donnie.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Alcoholic: Donny almost always has a beer in his hand, and stashes bottles and cans of Budweiser everywhere.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Donny is this to Han.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Han claims that being a former fat kid raised on junk food gave him diabetes. In reality, type 1 diabetes isn't caused by a person's lifestyle at all and type 2 diabetes is reversible.
  • Artistic License – Law: The maximum sentence for statutory rape in real life is 12 years, far less than Mary's 30 year sentence.
  • Artistic License – Military: Deliberately invoked with Chad. His uniforms are a mixup of Marine Corps duty uniform, Army camo and rank devices, and completely fake insignia. He also talks about a "service revolver" (which the US Military hasn't had since 1912) and "emptying the clip" (any real Soldier or Marine knows the difference between a clip and a magazine). It turns out that he's lying about being a Marine, gets away with it for most of the movie because neither Donny nor Todd/Han know any better, and is in fact a Modern Jazz dancer. Who bangs his sister.
  • As Himself: Vanilla Ice, and Todd Bridges.
  • The Bartender: Champale's daughter, Brie, works as the bartender in Donny's favorite strip club.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Donny goes to the hotel to confront Jamie on her cheating and discovers that she and her twin Chad are having sex in the hotel.
  • Between My Legs: Seen when Grandma Delores seduces Donny.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Inverted. Jamie says that Chad is half the size of Han but is a much better lover. Then again, he's probably had years of practice doing what she likes.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Todd yells out one at the wedding in reaction to the news that his fiancée cheated on him with her own brother.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jamie at first seems like a sweet, if somewhat neurotic girl. As the film goes on we learn that she is shrill and controlling towards Han, and then we learn that she's having an affair with her own brother.
  • Brick Joke: Father McNally prohibits texting, phone calls or "that game with the birds" in his church. Later in the film, the replacement pastor is on his phone, grumbling "Fly farther, stupid bird!"
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Han carries an extra pair of underwear at all times after soiling himself as a child. Later in the film he soils himself again after being tazed.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Donny discovers that Han's fiancee Jamie is having an affair with her twin brother. He tells Han, who calls off the wedding.
  • Canon Immigrant: Doctor Shakalu from Grandma's Boy (2006) became Father Shakalu in this movie.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the film Donny bets $20 on a fat man running the Boston Marathon, whose odds of winning are 8000-to-1. At the end of the film the fat man wins the marathon, causing Donny to win $160,000 and pay off his debt to the IRS.
  • Child by Rape: Played for Laughs, as Han was conceived by an inappropriate relationship between a 12-year-old child and his 22-year-old teacher.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Delores. While she is trendy, helpful and open-minded...
    • Dirty Old Woman: ...she's also not above having sex with a friend of her grandson.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Donny spends one entire evening doing this to Grandma Delores.
  • Disco Dan: Donny still dresses likes it's the 1980s, and he still has a cassette tape player in his car (along with a large collection of mix tapes from 80s bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard).
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Played with, Donny is cheered on by the school for having sex with his teacher and enjoys the experience, but it IS treated seriously in-universe, as the presiding judge says that despite some people not thinking of Donny as a victim, what the teacher did was still a serious crime, and the fact that she showed no remorse leads the judge to give her the maximum sentence of thirty years in prison.
    • However, the movie portrays the relationship between Donny and his teacher as being born out of genuine love, not to mention showing that being raped by the teacher as being best thing that ever happened to him because of the money he got.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Despite his bad attitude, Chad has a soft spot for his mother and later on, he is practically begging Jamie and Donny not to tell her about his incestuous relationship with Jamie.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Han Solo Berger. He later had it changed to the far more normal-sounding Todd Peterson.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Han's entire back is covered by a New Kids On The Block tattoo.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Vanilla Ice now works the snack bar at an ice skating rink.
  • Fanboy: Donny likes Star Wars so much that he named his son after Han Solo. Also, Donny's accountant is a die-hard New England Patriots fan.
  • Fan Disservice: One of Donny's only friends is Champale, an obese, middle-aged stripper.
    • Jamie naked in a hotel room, fooling around with her twin brother Chad.
  • Fanservice: Played with. While it doesn't change the fact that she's in a Sick and Wrong sexual affair with a 12-year-old, Donny's teacher is physically attractive with a seductive voice.
    • Milo Ventimiglia gets a few shirtless scenes.
  • Family Disunion: All of the Martin family and the wedding guests are horrified to learn of Jamie and Chad's incestuous relationship.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Donny is an expert at using a beer bottle as an improvised weapon, and never fails to knock his target unconscious.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The after effects of Han being raised by an irresponsible 12-year-old are played largely for laughs.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Champale, who seems to honestly care for Donny's well-being.
  • Hot for Teacher: 12-year-old Donny Berger has an affair with...
  • Hot Teacher: Mary McGarricle.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Jamie is disgusted when she learns that Han is the result of an underage boy having an affair with his teacher... despite the fact that she's involved in an incestuous relationship with her brother. Lampshaded by Donny.
  • I Banged Your Mom: The reason why Vanilla Ice has been angry with Donny for several years.
  • Idiotic Partner Confession: When Donny tries to stop the wedding, Chad threatens Donny with the fact that Jamie can still cancel that check she wrote him anytime and lets slip of the $50,000 check Jamie bribed him with (in order to keep quiet of Chad's incestuous relationship with Jamie). Jamie tries to silence him but it's too late.
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: "All right, you know what? You are an imbecilic, immature, asinine, childish, caveman-like, hairy-knuckled, single-chromosomal, obnoxious, uneducated, ignorant asshole...who I would like to fuck hard and long!"
  • Immodest Orgasm: Jamie, loud enough for Donny to locate her in the hotel she's staying at.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Jamie drops one to Donny while defending her incestuous relationship with her twin brother Chad.
    Jamie: It's what good-looking people do! They have sex with other good-looking people! Just that one of those particular good-looking people happens to be my little brother...
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Jamie and Chad are in the middle of having sex when Donny busts in on them.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: The movie starts in 1984, and when the relationship between Donny and Mary is shown, they play a Van Halen song from the're probably expecting it to be "Hot for Teacher"note , right? Nope, it uses "And the Cradle Will Rock"!
  • Jerk Jock: Chad.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although Donny was a lousy parent to Han, it was more out of ignorance than anything else. He genuinely cares about his son and wants him to be happy.
  • Likes Older Women: Donny, proclaiming at 13 years old that he's into women, has a forbidden relationship with his hot teacher Ms. McGarricle (even up to the present day) and manages to have sex with Grandma Delores.
  • Manchild: Donny.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: An in-universe example. Donny's life was the subject of a television movie called The Donny Berger Story.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Averted. After catching them in bed together, Donny asks Jamie if Chad is "her stepbrother at least? Or adopted or something?". Jamie and Chad don't answer...and their shocked silence confirms to Donny that they're indeed full-blooded twin siblings having an incestuous affair.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Han's brawl with Father McNally is one of these until Donny intervenes.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Jamie and Chad's faces when Donny shows up at the wedding to voice his objections. Also the same look on their faces when they're caught together in the hotel by Donny the night before.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with when Donny catches Jamie on the phone with a man named Steve, hinting that she may be having an affair with Todd's boss. She claims she was actually speaking to Steve Goldstein, the Boston Herald wedding reporter, and wanted to keep the call a secret because Todd hates being on the papers. Averted with Andy Samberg as Todd Peterson/Han Solo Berger and Todd Bridges as himself.
  • Papa Wolf: Donny when he knocks out Jamie when she's about to knife Todd.
  • Phony Veteran: Just one of the many reasons why Chad is despicable.
  • Poor Man's Porn: In one scene, Donny has A Date with Rosie Palms over a pair of photographs of Grandma Delores; one as a young woman in a vintage swimsuit, and one from the present day as an elderly woman.
  • The Pornomancer: Donny. The fact that he had an affair with his attractive teacher when he was only 12 years old causes many of the male characters in the movie to view him as a sex god. He also seems to have little difficulty hooking up with other women, such as Grandma Delores and the manager at the Men's Spa.
  • Present-Day Past: In the 1984 flashback, one of Donny's friends has an ALF lunchbox. Alf didn't come out until 1986.
  • Product Placement: Donny is seldom seen without a bottle or can of Budweiser (and the label is always facing toward the camera). Also, one of the film's gags references the "Wassup!" Bud Light commercials from the late 1990s.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In the universe of this movie, the abuse and neglect Han suffered as a result of being raised by Donnie are apparently forgiven because Donnie still sincerely loves him.
  • Puppy Love: It's implied that Jamie and Chad have been having an incestuous relationship since childhood.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Regardless of how much Donny enjoyed having sex with his teacher, Ms. McGarricle eventually gets arrested for willingly having sex with a minor.
    • After Jamie is exposed by Donny to her family and fiancée for having sex with her twin brother, everyone shuns them and Todd breaks up with her and calls off their wedding because of her incest.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • Grandma Delores has sex with Donny and Vanilla Ice in the same night. Possibly at the same time.
    • Jamie, who had sex with Han's boss just so he could get a promotion and isn't above sleeping with her own brother.
  • Replacement Goldfish: After dumping his golddigging fiancée Jamie, Todd starts a relationship with nice girl stripper/dancer Brie at the end.
  • Rule of Three: Donny hitting people with a bottle.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Jamie attempts to bribe Donny with enough money to keep him out of jail as long as he keeps quiet about her affair with Chad. But in the end, Donny decides that he'd rather go to jail than let his son marry somebody like Jamie.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: After being caught with her twin brother Chad in the hotel, Jamie's more than willing to pay Donny a $50,000 check to keep his mouth shut about the twins incestuous affair before her wedding.
  • Skewed Priorities: After they're caught, Chad tries to reason with Donny telling him that he knows the situation between him and Jamie is wrong but he would never carry on with a married woman and that he's got "better morals than that". Donny corrects him, telling him that adultery is back but incest is "fucked up!". Chad panics after this, fearing that their taboo relationship will be exposed.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Donny somehow raised his son as a teenager while his mother is in jail.
  • Squick: In-Universe reaction when Donny, Todd and the entire Martin family find out that Jamie has been sleeping with her brother Chad.
    • Also when people find out that Donny impregnated his teacher when he was 12. Though most people thought he was a celebrity for accomplishing so, the judge is the only one who appropriately thinks it's wrong.
  • Tap on the Head: Donny delivers a few of these during the film.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: After Todd whacks Chad with a bottle, he has the perfect rejoinder. "At ease, bitch!"
  • Title Drop: After Donny and his son Todd reconcile and he calls off his wedding to his awful fiancée, he says to him "That's my boy!".
    • In the scene where a seething Todd tells his father Donny "I hate you Dad!", that was also an unintentional title drop since the film's title was originally going to be "I Hate You, Dad".
  • Timeshifted Actor: The young version of Mary McGarricle is played by Eva Amurri Martino. The middle-aged version of the character is played by Martino's real-life mother, Susan Sarandon.
  • Title Drop: Donny says "That's my boy" a couple of times. Todd even says "I hate you, Dad" which was the film's original title.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Chad
  • Twincest: Jamie and Chad Martin.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Jamie tries to attack Todd with a cake knife at the end, only to be knocked out by Donny. Chad tries to do the same after they knock out Jamie only he gets punched out too.
  • Villainous Incest: Near the end of the film, Donny walks in on Jamie having sex with her brother, Chad.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A drunken Han Solo pukes on Jamie's wedding dress after his bachelor party. Also, Donny throws up after discovering Jamie and Chad's incestuous relationship.
  • Vulgar Humor: Constant cussing, nonstop crude sexual content involving masturbation, oral sex, semen, penis size, incest, even statutory rape among other things, and urine and vomit gags to top it all off. Yup, this movie's got it all. Not surprising since it's an Adam Sandler movie.
  • Unfortunate Name: Han Solo Berger, somehow lacking the awesome one would think would come of that.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Chad calls having sex with Jamie 'their secret tickle time'.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Donny's fine with hitting Jamie on the head with a beer bottle. Lampshaded by Donny, who immediately points out that he wouldn't ordinarily do that, but he felt justified considering she was trying to kill his son.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Inverted; this movie is about a father attempting to win the approval of his son.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: