Bright Lights Film Journal

Grandma’s Boy: No, Not That One

Linda Cardellini dies and goes to Hell

I’m no Dante, but I bet they’re busy in Hell these days. Busy putting in new and lower circles, busy putting in new and more insidious punishments, busy putting in new HD express lanes and new lakes of boiling sulfur, all to accommodate the endless influx of new talent from Tinseltown. One hopes that Satan will come up with something special for Linda Cardellini’s agent, for landing his sweet young client in Grandma’s Boy, one of the least competent major release films I’ve ever seen. Compared to Grandma’s Boy, Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo is coherent.1

Grandma’s Boy probably started out as a nod to the Harold Lloyd classic, a remake that would star producer Adam Sandler.2 But it appears that remaking The Longest Yard took all the stretch out of Adam’s acting muscle and he turned over the lead to long-time producing/writing buddy Allen Covert.3 Covert, no spring chicken and no pretty face, wisely surrounded himself with a collection of lamos and lardbutts — the kind of people usually kept on the other side of the camera — so that he wouldn’t look completely out of place. In the midst of all this overwhelmingly ordinary humanity is Cardellini’s slender, graceful, perfectly coiffed presence, the contrast making her look for all the world like a ballerina at a barn dance in Fat Ass, Nebraska.4

Covert must have found his multiple responsibilities as producer and writer and star a bit overwhelming, because the script appears to have been cooked up in the Bong-omatic. Not since the heyday of Cheech and Chong has a film so reeking of weed staggered into the multiplex, a film so unfunny that you wouldn’t laugh at it if you were stoned on high-grade BC buzz from Willie Nelson’s private stash. If there was a gram of wit, of thought, of energy, of enthusiasm in this film, I missed it. There are the obligatory fart jokes, the obligatory stoner jokes, the obligatory jack-off jokes, the obligatory wild party with the obligatory Double D tit chick.5 And through all the incompetence there’s Cardellini’s sweet, shining face, so adorable that if I’d had another Tequila Sunrise for brunch I’d have kissed it right off the screen. The ball of fame takes some funny bounces, eh Linda? That damn Gwyneth Paltrow waltzes around like a damn goddess, while you end up squeezing your own tit just to pay the rent.6

AFTERWORD

I feel so sorry for Linda that I’d take back all the harsh things I said about her cult-TV series Freaks and Geeks if they weren’t true.

  1. Linda Cardellini dies and goes to Hell []
  2. Sandler SNL buddies Kevin Nealon and David Spade appear in bit parts. []
  3. Allen Covert a leading man? I’m better-looking than Allen Covert! Talk about your cognitive dissonance! (Covert, playing a 35-year-old computer game tester, is actually 52.) []
  4. Cardellini only has to smile once and you realize that she’s got 32 perfect teeth. No one else in this film has one good tooth. []
  5. Some of the choices — e.g., a video gamer nerd losing his virginity to a sixty-something grandma — struck me as particularly errant. Whatever happened to chicks kissing? []
  6. Yeah, the film is so low rent that even poor Linda has to get down and dirty, shaking her fanny and grabbing her boob. And, yeah, I did want it to go on longer, but I knew it was wrong. []