Trigger warning for abuse and rape.
Waaaaaay to welcome me back from the con, assholes.
[Transcript: Suck suck suck horror suck horror suck suck oh God is there a single JOKE in this trailer strippers drunkenness abusive parenting suck horror suck. Title card: Adam Sandler's That's My Boy.]
Adam Sandler has perpetrated his latest abomination unto cinema. Inexplicably, the fabulous– and actually funny– Andy Samburg is present. How terrible is his agent? Starring in Keeping Up With The Kardashians would preserve his dignity more. I mean, I approve of his shirtlessness, but couldn’t he be shirtless in a better movie?
Fortunately, terrible movies and the burning question of why Adam Sandler still has a career are not social justice issues. What is is that the movie is under the impression that neglect is not child abuse but, in fact, a hilarious series of events the only problem with which is that Andy Samburg is way too uptight. Seriously, feeding your kid cake and lollipops for breakfast every day? Getting your eight-year-old to drive you home because you were too drunk? Allowing a third-grader to get a New Kids On The Block backpiece (is that even legal?)? NOT HUMOROUS. CHILD ABUSE. And, yes, that would probably happen if an ordinary thirteen-year-old had to raise a kid on his own… but that’s why we don’t let thirteen-year-olds be the primary caregivers of children! This is not complicated.
Speaking of NOT HUMOROUS, consider the premise of the movie– another example of the erasure of rape of men. Donny had a crush on his teacher, who has sex with him. At this point, Donny is twelve years old. Look, I know that the age of consent is a bright red line drawn through a whole lot of grey area, but “don’t have sex with twelve-year-olds” is not gray area. Twelve-year-olds are not capable of giving meaningful consent to their adult teachers. It is rape.
The movie, however, doesn’t seem to view Donny as a rape survivor, even when the judge puts the teacher in prison. Instead, the entire incident is just Donny being a stud, an awesomely masculine bad boy: he gets high-fives from his friends for impregnating his teacher, and the trailer calls it a crush that went too far. Can you imagine a movie treating the rape of a (privileged*) twelve-year-old girl– even if she ‘consented’– as proof of how beautiful and feminine she was? Or calling it a “crush that went too far” (except, I guess, as a horrific contrast between her innocence and the predator’s evil)?
Call me a no-fun humorless feminist, but I think some things shouldn’t be a topic for jokes in Adam Sandler movies. The idea that men always consent to sex– even children– has been used to defend actual rapists and to blame actual rape survivors. To perpetrate that in the service of a shitty movie– dude, that is not funny.
*Poor girls and girls of color are often over-sexualized and treated as “sluts” who “knew what they were getting into.” Fuck rape culture, seriously.