Ah, good old January. The holidays are over, it’s cold outside, and the holiday/Oscar cinematic rejects slog their way into theaters. Such a specimen is Grandma’s Boy, a film that would have been infinitely better off as a short subject high school project. But, the film is a product of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, so we’re guaranteed several things: fart jokes, masturbation, horny old women, weed, slackers, and Rob Schneider. I feel like I just gave the movie away.
35-year-old video game tester Alex (Covert) is forced to move in with his grandma, Lilly (Roberts), and her two roommates, Grace (Jones) and Bea (Knight), after his roommate blows all their money on hookers and after an embarrassing situation involving a female action figure, a bathroom, and co-worker Jeff’s (Swardson) mom. The project at work is an X-Box game called “Eternal Death Slayer 3” and it is the brainchild of J.P. (Moore), a game-designing prodigy who talks to himself in a robot voice. Brought in for the sake of a love interest is Samantha (Cardellini), who is responsible for making sure the game gets done on time. In his spare time, however, Alex is working on his own game that, I guess, he eventually wants to sell. He also smokes a lot of weed provided to him by Dante (Dante), an eccentric with a live-in friend from Zimbabwe and a yearning for a pet lion.
That’s about it. The first half of the film garners several laughs, but by the second half is becomes readily apparent that the film has nowhere to go and really has no plot whatsoever. David Spade surfaces in a truly painful restaurant scene and doesn’t even get as much as a smirk. Sandler favorite Kevin Nealon does his Happy Gilmore shtick with flimsy results. The film is really hoping that you find its bizarre characters endlessly entertaining, but well before J.P. has done his robot voice for the 97th time, the jig has been up and wrung of every laugh it was worth.
Allen Covert, who looks so much like Mel Gibson that it’s actually scary, carries the film well with his deadpan delivery and adept reactions to the madness surrounding him. He has had small parts in twelve of fifteen Sandler comedies over the years, but with Grandma’s Boy he shows some nice comedic timing and is finally given the spotlight, if that’s what you want to call it. Doris Roberts is clearly above this kind of material, but she actually looks like she’s having fun.
Those who never tire of the same Sandler-inspired antics over and over will find plenty to like in Grandma’s Boy, but everyone else will be checking their watches even with the short 96 minute runtime. As a short it could have emerged as inspired, but as a feature it feels tired, deflated, and far too familiar.
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Length: 96 Minutes
Rating: R for drug use and language throughout, strong crude and sexual humor, and nudity.
Theatrical Release: January 6, 2006
Directed by: Nicholaus Goossen
Written by: Barry Wernick & Allen Covert & Nick Swardson.
Cast: Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Jonathan Loughran, Nick Swardson, Joel David Moore, Doris Roberts