I can see where they were going with this movie. The whole advertising campaign, in fact the entire production, is an attempt to sell the film as a late '70s, early '80s teen sex comedy. The poster art is reminiscent of the cartoonish painted posters for films like Animal House, even the title credits are superimposed against clips of Space Invaders (or is that Galaga?).
But there aren't any teens in Grandma's Boy, the lead character is 35 and most of the peripheral characters are in their mid-20s. So what gives? Crass exploitation. Nah, this film doesn't have a crass bone in its body. I think it's more likely that the filmmakers got really high, made a movie, and then needed to figure out just how to package it.
Allen Covert stars as Alex, a video game tester who can't be beat. He's also a doofus with no life, no apartment, and nothing to live for other than goofy pot concoctions that his dealer Dante (Peter Dante) plies him with. That changes when a sexy corporate exec (Linda Cardellini) moves into the office to try and turn around a video game the company needs to release while Alex moves in with his grandmother, Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts. The usual undemanding comedy shenanigans ensue (i.e. grandma gets stoned, a villain emerges, the best friend gets laid, the chimp learns tae kwon do, etc.) but Grandma's Boy is less concerned with a tight plot than it is with meandering pothead humor.
Besides looking like a Lethal Weapon era Mel Gibson, Covert is odd leading man material. He's not a good actor by any stretch but he's got an engaging smile and a nice sense of timing. Obviously his writing the screenplay and appearing in every one of Adam Sandler's films helps. But the show belongs to Nick Swardson who, as Alex's friend and coworker, pulls off a flawless hipster nerd, Napoleon Dynamite-like performance. He's both incredibly deadpan funny and grossly unappealing.
Most of the film plays like a series of stitched-together sketches. There's some cubicle humor, Office Space riffs, Porky's sex jokes (including a few gross out Farrelly Brother-esque scenes, most notably a early encounter with a Tomb Raider action figure), and whole hemp fields of pot gags, but the majority of the jokes fall flat. All in all, Grandma's Boy is a Neanderthal picture; it's funny but so lowbrow you'll actually feel your brain cells dying. I felt like I was watching a USA Up All Night broadcast of Zapped!
Oh yeah, I do highly recommend the soundtrack.
Which one's grandma?
In Theaters: Friday 6th January 2006
Box Office USA: $5.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $6.5M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Happy Madison Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 51
IMDB: 7.1 / 10
Director: Nicholaus Goossen
Screenwriter: Barry Wernick, Allan Covert
Starring: Linda Cardellini as Samantha, Allen Covert as Alex, Peter Dante as Dante, Shirley Knight as Bea, Joel David Moore as J.P., Kevin Nealon as Mr. Cheezle, Doris Roberts as Grandma Lilly, Shirley Jones as Grace, Nick Swardson as Jeff, Jonah Hill as Barry, Kelvin Yu as Kane, Chuck Church as Dan, Todd Holland as Mover #1, Scott Halberstadt as Bobby, Co-Worker #1, Shana Hiatt as Pamela Mills, Heidi Hawking as Milk Maid, John Kirk as Businessman, Joe Koons as Best Man, Bryan Ling as DJ, Geno Kirkland as Party Guy