"How Low Will You Go?"
What You Need To Know:
GRANDMA’S BOY is horrendous, pushing the limits of how low moviemakers will plummet for a few cheap laughs. Those familiar with Sandler’s movies are familiar with this formula. An aging, immature Gen-X slacker is the protagonist, while a good-natured, beautiful woman is his love interest. The slacker is surrounded by younger versions of himself, and, despite his irresponsibility and bad decisions, is somehow rewarded with success and love by the movie’s conclusion. We’ve seen all of this before, and the only spin in GRANDMA’S BOY is that the vulgarity is cranked up to the max, and poured out in crude, heavy portions. Extremely perverted, it’s a movie of which Christian parents should be aware, and it’s one for all of us to avoid.
(PaPaPa, AbAb, FR, Ho, Ro, LLL, V, SSS, NNN, AAA, DDD, MM) Very strong pagan “live for today” worldview glorifying sexual perversions and drug abuse, incredibly gross, juvenile scatological humor throughout, several scenes depicting New Age religion elements (although clearly making fun of them), a few homosexual jokes, and some Romantic elements; strong language with over 97 obscenities and 10 profanities; mild slapstick violence in a scene portraying a man wrestling with a monkey; strong sexual content, including a gross masturbation scene, implied fornication between a young man and an elderly woman, and other depicted and discussed sexual perversions; several portrayals of nudity, including upper male and female nudity and rear male nudity, mostly within a sexual context; drunkenness portrayed and glorified throughout; drug use portrayed and glorified throughout, especially use of marijuana; and miscellaneous immoral content such as making fun of the elderly, deception, theft, revenge, and rudeness.
Is there any limit to how low moviemakers will plummet for a few cheap laughs? If GRANDMA’S BOY is any indication, the answer is a resounding “no.”
A product of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production team, GRANDMA’S BOY tells the story of Alex (Allen Covert), a 35 year-old video game tester who is kicked out of his apartment because his roommate has been spending their rent money on hookers. After a brief stay with his friend Jeff (Nick Swardson), Alex is forced to move in with his grandma Lilly (Doris Roberts) and her two elderly roommates, one (Shirley Jones) a promiscuous sex addict, the other (Shirley Knight) a pill-popping space-cadet.
At his new home, when not performing chores for his aging roommates, Alex is working on his side project, designing a video game called “Demonik.” Meanwhile at work, Alex’s boss Mr. Cheezle (Kevin Nealon) has brought in beautiful hotshot gaming executive Samantha (Linda Cardellini) to work out the kinks in their latest video game project. Alex and Samantha grow close, much to the anger of a jealous and socially awkward game programmer J.P. (Joel David Moore). While Alex, Samantha and Jeff are partying with Alex’s grandmother and roommates, J.P. is plotting revenge.
Those familiar with Adam Sandler’s movies are well-acquainted with this formula. An aging, but still very immature Gen-X slacker is the protagonist, while a good-natured, beautiful woman is his love interest. The slacker is surrounded by younger versions of himself, and, despite his irresponsibility and bad decisions, is somehow rewarded with success and love by the movie’s conclusion. Thrown into the mix are some typical Sandler movie stock characters, like the (much overused) elderly people singing karaoke, and the goofy, sex-hungry, misunderstood teenage boys. Male adolescent interests, such as sports, rock music, and, video games, are always predominant. We’ve seen it all before, and the only spin in GRANDMA’S BOY is that the vulgarity is cranked up to the max, and poured out in crude, heavy portions.
Jerry Seinfeld once remarked that using foul language and other vulgar material for humorous effect is much like cheating for a comedian. A strategically placed obscenity can often stimulate laughter from an audience, and comics seem to be increasingly choosing this path rather than going through the sometimes laborious process of creating a clever joke. Unfortunately, an entire genre, the gross-out comedy, is based on such comedic short-cuts. The laughs are completely dependent on characters shocking (or grossing out) its audience. While this approach is loaded with artistic problems, the moral implications are more serious. Nothing is sacred. That’s the joke, the only joke, regurgitated in as many ways possible.
THE MERCHANTS OF COOL, an interesting but disturbing 2001 Frontline documentary reported on the same teenage-targeting exploits of marketing corporations that are represented in GRANDMA’S BOY. Such research gave birth to “The Mook,” a term critics have labeled the obnoxiously crude, in-your-face type of male character that can be found on MTV and Comedy Central at any given hour. The Mook, a media analyst explains in the documentary, “was designed to capitalize on the testosterone-driven madness of adolescence. He grabs them below the belt and then reaches for their wallets.” Like JACKASS and THE TOM GREEN SHOW, GRANDMA’S BOY shamelessly employs this same technique.
Twentieth Century Fox’s advertising of this movie, it should be pointed out, doesn’t hide the movie’s intentions. The slogan in GRANDMA’S BOY marketing materials is “Sex. Drugs. Nakedness. Rude Language. And Proud Of It.” Most people who see this movie, therefore, have an idea of what’s in store, but it’s obviously a movie of which Christian parents should be aware, and it’s one for all of us to avoid.