×

Grandma’s Boy

An Adam Sandler film sans Adam, "Grandma's Boy," unlike other Happy Madison productions, headlines no recognizable SNL alumni of the Rob Schneider/David Spade ilk. Pic instead promotes second-stringer Allen Covert to top banana and otherwise fills the comic void with a plethora of Sandler semi-regulars and a trio of grotesque but lovable dotty old ladies -- Doris Roberts, Shirley Jones and Shirley Knight.

With:
Samantha - Linda Cardellini Alex - Allen Covert Dante - Peter Dante Grace - Shirley Jones Bea - Shirley Knight J.P. - Joel David Moore Mr. Cheezle - Kevin Nealon Grandma Lilly - Doris Roberts Jeff - Nick Swardson Barry - Jonah Hill Kane - Kelvin Yu Dr. Shakalu - Abdoulaye N'Gom

An Adam Sandler film sans Adam, “Grandma’s Boy,” unlike other Happy Madison productions, headlines no recognizable SNL alumni of the Rob Schneider/David Spade ilk (though the two contribute limp cameos as a sarcastic ethnic landlord and a flitty vegan waiter, respectively). Pic instead promotes second-stringer Allen Covert to top banana and otherwise fills the comic void with a plethora of Sandler semi-regulars and a trio of grotesque but lovable dotty old ladies — Doris Roberts, Shirley Jones and Shirley Knight. Even Sandler diehards may pass on this mostly derivative paean to compulsive computer geekdom and male sexual dysfunction.

A subculture of nerds and geeks aptly staff a videogame company, where they crassly insult each other and teach newcomers armpit farting. Odd-man-out Alex (Covert, who also produced and co-scripted), a 35-year-old ex-accountant turned videogame tester and nonpareil player, supplies the clueless virgins with a touch of vicarious post-pubescence, as evinced by his budding romance with the new program manager Samantha (Linda Cardellini of “Brokeback Mountain”). Alex’s sidekick Jeff (played by Covert’s co-writer and fellow Sandler stalwart Nick Swardson) still lives with his parents, wears bunny PJs and sleeps in a car-shaped bed.

Popular on Variety

Alex’s lothario image (dubious at best, given his propensity to jerk off to Lara Croft action figures) is threatened when he loses his apartment and must move in with his grandmother (Roberts). Grandma lives with two contemporaries, Shirley Jones as a been-around comedian groupie who has not only given a hand job to Chaplin but nailed both Abbott and Costello and Shirley Knight as a vitamin pill-popping spacehead.

All the women in the pic are every nerd’s fantasy. Samantha, once out of her business suit, plays a mean videogame. Not only can she drink everyone under the table but her showstopper karaoke rendition of “Push It” provides one of pic’s relative highpoints.

As for the golden girls, their enthusiastic naivete and the nerds’ infantilism feed into one another, the insanity of the workplace invading grandma’s house and vice versa.

Alex, whose drive and ambition have gone up in smoke (enabled by Sandler regular Peter Dante as Dante, pothead extraordinaire), is inspired anew by the women in his life. He asserts his true hero status at the company when the videogame that he secretly and self-deprecatingly designed in his spare time turns out to trump the revered work of resident genius and superannuated child prodigy J.P. (Joel David Moore), who slinks around in black leather Matrix garb rechanneling old Conan O’Brien robotspeak.

Despite its generous quota of gross-out drug, flatulence and tits gags, “Grandma” plays more like a Sandler-starring pic than a broad farce in the “Deuce Bigalow” or “Joe Dirt” mode. But the Sandler-patented mix of the deliberately offensive and the blatantly sentimental loses something in the maestro’s absence.

Covert (who produced and co-scripted) may be a little too nice (lacking Sandler’s angry edge) and a little too — dare it be said? –intelligent-seeming for his own good.

The golden girls are in high sitcom gear, elderly gags proceeding equally from their addiction to “Antiques Roadshow” and their mistakenly drinking “tea” made from Dante’s finest Ethiopian. Roberts’ grandmotherly eagerness readily extends to kickass videogame playing, while Jones proudly flaunts her classy over-the-hill sexpot and Knight wanders around looking for her character’s motivation.

Recycled jokes are executed briskly by tyro helmer Nicholaus Goossen, and Mark Irwin’s lensing is a cut above average.

Grandma's Boy

Production: A 20th Century Fox release and presentation in association with Level 1 Entertainment of a Happy Madison production. Produced by Allen Covert. Executive producers, Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Glenn S. Gainor, Bill Todman Jr., Edward Milstein, Paul Schwake. Co-producer, Nick Swardson. Directed by Nicholaus Goossen. Screenplay, Berry Wernick, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson.

Crew: Camera (FotoKem color), Mark Irwin; editor, Tom Costain; music, Waddy Wachtel; music supervisor, Michael Dilbeck; production designer, Perry Andelin Blake; art directors, Alan Au, Jeffrey Mossa; set decorator, Claire Kaufman; costume designer, Maya Lieberman; sound (Dolby), Mark Ulano; supervising sound editors, Sean McCormack, Kani Asgar; associate producer, Peter Dante; assistant director, Adam Druxman; casting, Lisa London, Catherine Stroud. Reviewed at Regal Union Square, New York, Jan. 6, 2006. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Samantha - Linda Cardellini Alex - Allen Covert Dante - Peter Dante Grace - Shirley Jones Bea - Shirley Knight J.P. - Joel David Moore Mr. Cheezle - Kevin Nealon Grandma Lilly - Doris Roberts Jeff - Nick Swardson Barry - Jonah Hill Kane - Kelvin Yu Dr. Shakalu - Abdoulaye N'Gom

More Film

  • The Invisible Man

    Elisabeth Moss in 'The Invisible Man': Film Review

    These days, the horror-fantasy thriller tends to be a junk metaphysical spook show that throws a whole lot of scary clutter at the audience — ghosts, “demons,” mad killers — without necessarily adding up to an experience that’s about anything. But in “The Invisible Man,” Leigh Whannell’s ingenious and entertaining update of a concept that’s [...]

  • Nora Arnezeder

    Berlin: Wide's Thriller 'Blast' Sold to Japan, Latin America at the EFM (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Blast,” a high-concept thriller produced and represented in international markets by Paris-based company Wide, has sold to several territories at the EFM in Berlin. Vanya Peirani-Vignes’ feature debut, “Blast” takes place Parisian parking lot where Sonia finds herself trapped in her car with her son while her boyfriend’s daughter has been left outside to deal [...]

  • digger

    Greek Director Grigorakis Saddles up 'Western' 'Digger' at Berlin

    For a feature debut that he describes as a contemporary Western, Greek director Georgis Grigorakis settled on a familiar archetype — “a lonely guy with his horse, with his shotgun” — who, in keeping with the genre’s conventions, is drawn into a confrontation and is prepared to fight to the bitter end in the defense [...]

  • North Macedonian directors Ljubo Stefanov (R)

    Berlin: 'Honeyland' Directors Prepping New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, the Macedonian directors of the dual Oscar-nominated documentary “Honeyland,” are prepping several new projects, Variety has learned exclusively. The directing duo are looking to build on the success of their debut, a moving portrait of a lone beekeeper struggling to preserve a traditional way of life, which was nominated for [...]

  • David-Casademunt-and-Joaquin

    Rodar y Rodar Boards “The Beast” (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar, producer of Spanish horror titles such as J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” and Oriol Paulo’s “The Body, has thrown its weight behind David Casademunt’s “The Beast,” boarding it as its main producer. “The Beast,” which participated in Filmarket Hub’s 2017 Sitges Pitchbox event as well as Ventana Sur’s 2017 Blood Window, it [...]

  • Bad Tales

    Italy's Pepito Prods. Shines With 'Bad Tales' (EXCLUSIVE) Trailer

    Italy’s Pepito Prods., at Berlin with competition drama “Bad Tales” by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, is emerging as a new home for the country’s auteurs.  The company, headed by former RAI head of drama Agostino Saccà in January, scored more than $6 million in Italian cinemas with veteran Gianni Amelio’s “Hammamet,” a biopic of disgraced [...]

  • La Belle Époque

    France's Les Films du Kiosque Board Nicolas Bedos', Mabrouk El Mechri's Next Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Les Films du Kiosque, the Paris-based production company behind Nicolas Bedos’ Cannes-premiering “La Belle Epoque” and Netflix’ hit original “Family Business,” is set to reteam with Bedos on “Masquarade,” and will produce Mabrouk El Mechri’s “Kung Fu Zohra.” El Mechri’s film follows Zohra, a young cashier from the suburbs who is being physically abused by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content