That's My Boy (1951) Poster

(1951)

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its all for Junior!
billymac7217 December 2000
I think it's a real shame that this movie has never been made available on tape or disc - it's hysterical!! Sure, not all of the hysterics are intentional (e.g., Dean Martin, who was 34 when this was made, and looking every year of it, playing a high school senior. The only thing missing from his prom scene are the smokes & martinis...although they're certainly present in spirit. Classic). They even allow Deano a couple of songs: the funny "Ball & a Jack" sequence is intercut with Lewis ineptly trying to match Martin's suave moves from the sidelines, but a backseat seranade of "I'm in the Mood for Love" is so out of place and arbitrary that it's priceless! Nonetheless, the comedy that was intended comes off quite well, especially the great Eddie Mayhoff ("How to Murder Your Wife") as Lewis's hilariously overbearing & macho father (unintended comedic moment II: Mayhoff doing pushups at the beginning of the film, proclaiming to be the epitome of health. He looks, however, to be in awful shape!). This film is certainly dated, but it really adds to its charm. Imagine a time when butter, pancakes and syrup were considered good for you (as is sleeping with your window open)! People didn't question the "correctness" of hunting. Doctors smoked. Men shaved with straight razors. College students didn't wear baseball caps and baggy pants. Dean Martin attends your high school!! It's all here! I must have gone through about 10 different copies of this over the years (it showed up quite often on the old "late, late movie" shows that used to be on network television. I always screwed up the commercial edits). AMC shows this sometimes, so check it out!
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8/10
if you MUST see a Martin and Lewis film, make it this one
MartinHafer28 June 2005
I'm not a big fan of Martin and Lewis movies, though I think I saw all of them over the years. When I was a kid, I was a bit of a fan so I tried to see the films whenever they came on television. Of all their films together, this one is my favorite. It may not be hilarious from start to finish, but for this comedy team it is awfully good.

Lewis is very funny as the extremely clumsy and nerdy son of the rugged Eddie Mayehoff. Martin plays a football-playing student who Mayehoff WISHES were his son--in order to carry on the legacy. You see, because MANY years earlier Mayehoff had been a big college football star and he was beside himself having an embarrassment for a son. So, he makes Martin a proposition--take Lewis under his wing and make him a real man. In exchange, Mayehoff will bankroll Martin's college expenses.

What ultimately happens is a bit predictable but worth watching. The scene I particularly enjoyed watching was when Mayehoff took Lewis hunting! Good work by Martin & Lewis and a film that deserves to be seen a bit more often.

By the way, I am not sure if I'd consider this to be the team's best film or "The Stooge". "That's My Boy" is certainly a lot funnier but there's something likable about the oddly realistic "The Stooge".
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9/10
a classic
Jon El21 August 2002
"Gotta hit 'em low, hit 'em hard, and if they get up, hit 'em again. Gotta play GUTS football!" Poor Junior Jackson (Lewis) is the weak, uncoordinated, allergy-prone son of Jarring Jack Jackson, former Ridgeville football alum now trying to relive his collegiate days of glory through Junior. Studly Bill Baker (Martin) becomes the dorm-mate Jackson arranges to mentor Junior in football and other aspects of, uh, manhood. The plot is fairly predictable, but this is one hilarious movie about father-son relationships, college life, football, manhood, friendship, and girls (not in that particular order.) Martin & Lewis were never better together, along with a superb supporting cast. A classic comedy with heart.
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7/10
Jerry Lewis actually acting!
vincentlynch-moonoi14 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, it's a shocker, but Jerry Lewis actually displays some acting ability is this first, true Martin & Lewis film.

The main problem with this film is Dean playing a freshman in college, fresh out of high school graduation. He was 34 at the time! And, if you're primarily a Dino fan, it's 20 minutes before he comes into the film. Although, those first 20 minutes which feature Jerry prominently, really belong to character actor Eddie Mayehoff in his first film role.

The plot here -- sickly nerd (Jerry) is led along by college jock (Dean) in return for nerd's father putting jock through college. Can Junior (Jerry) really become a football hero? Dean's fans may feel cheated here -- clearly secondary here (though a key role), but he also has only two old songs -- "Balling The Jack" and "I'm In The Mood For Love".

In supporting roles there are Ruth Hussey (mother), Marion Marshall as the rather odd love interest, Polly Bergen, Hugh Sanders as the coach, John McIntire as a psychiatrist, and the legendary Tom Harmon as himself.

But, now that I think it over, this is not really a Martin & Lewis film...even though they are the stars. It's really the story that's paramount (pardon the pun) here. It's a nice little film, but hardly memorable.
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10/10
Jerry the football hero
Petey-1020 January 2000
Jerry Lewis plays this boy called "Junior Jackson", who doesn't know anything about football, but his father wants him to be a great football player.So he gets a special trainer for the job. And who else but Dean Martin, Jerry's partner for years, plays the trainer called Bill Baker.It's not an easy job for Bill to teach Jackson.And how would it be?After all, it is Jerry Lewis.Nothing is easy with mr.Lewis.That's My Boy is a great Martin-Lewis comedy.Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin is one of the greatest comedy couple ever.
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7/10
very funny
vinnie_hans22 May 2002
This is a very funny Martin & Lewis classic. D eano plays the popular American footballplayer and Lewis is quite enjoyable as the classic clown. Although not as good as Laurel & Hardy, still very good entertainment after 50 years.
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5/10
Fairly Funny Movie
slimedevil4444-12 April 2006
This is a somewhat funny movie with one serious flaw in it....Jerry Lewis's voice!....it was so irritating I had to turn the volume down....he talks with a half baby boy half nerd voice that gets under your skin....in his next few movies he had the same voice but not quite as bad,but in this one its so over the top it ruins any humor in that scene....and many times when he is talking he sounds like he is about to cry...I kept wishing Dean Martin would just land one clean punch when he started his whining....his next movie Sailors Beware was much better...simply too much Junior....and of course its always fun to see Jerry Lewis before he greased up his hair and transformed himself into Dean Martin.
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Decent Martin & Lewis Film
Michael_Elliott24 August 2017
That's My Boy (1951)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Junior Jackson (Jerry Lewis) is a weak nerd who just happens to be the son of Jarring Jackson (Eddie Mayehoff) who was a star football player. The father knows his boy is a weak loser but he makes him get on a college football team and he pays for Bill Baker (Dean Martin) to go in hopes that he can turn his boy into a real man.

THAT'S MY BOY isn't the greatest comedy that you're going to see but there are enough good moments in it to make it worth watching. It's funny going through these Martin & Lewis comedies because their films were pretty much like several famous comedy duos before them. One film would deal with college. Another film might deal with Hollywood. Other subjects would include horror elements and of course they would feature both music and laughs. This film isn't among the better Martin & Lewis pictures but it's worth watching if you're a fan of theirs.

I think the highlight of the picture happens with the songs that Martin is allowed to do. Martin gets two different songs but "I'm in the Mood for Love" was certainly the best and also the highlight of the picture. As for Martin, that's pretty much all he has to do as his character doesn't appear that much in the film. He does get to do a drunken spill towards the end and of course he would master this later in his career. Lewis is pretty much what you'd expect as he plays that weak, dimwitted character like very few could. Ruth Hussey adds some nice support as does Polly Bergen and John McIntire in their small roles. Mayehoff is also very good in his role as the strong father.

THAT'S MY BOY doesn't contain enough laughs to make it what I'd consider a "good" movie but at the same time there's no question that fans of the duo will enjoy it.
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8/10
Win it for dear old Dad
bkoganbing23 February 2014
That's My Boy was the first film in which people really started to take notice of Jerry Lewis and start classifying him with comedians like Chaplin and Keaton and Langdon. After over 60 years the film still holds up very well because it's got a universal theme, a kid who can't get out from under the shadow of his father.

Jerry is the nervous, spastic, and underachieving kid of former All American Eddie Mayehoff who later went on to be a captain of industry. Mother Ruth Hussey tries to help, but she too is dominated by Mayehoff who can't hear anyone's voice beyond his constant bloviating bellow. The man isn't blind he has to see what kind of kid he raised. Nevertheless he's going to turn Lewis into the next generation Mayehoff and he's got the money to make the attempt. He even pays for school jock Dean Martin to go to college as well and tutor Lewis in the fine arts of being a football hero and big man on campus.

That however interferes with Dino's efforts at courting Polly Bergen who Jerry is also interested in. I think you can see where this is going.

It all culminates as it always does in college pictures in the big football game at the end. Some of the gags are not as well presented as in such films as College Humor, Horsefeathers, and Hold 'Em Jail, still you'll get a few laughs from them.

Dino was shortchanged here. He gets two numbers nothing original just interpolated songs like Ballin' The Jack which he sings and dances with Bergen and I'm In The Mood For Love. Dino is strictly in support of Jerry for the first time.

But Jerry shows some real pathos in That's My Boy and was rightly praised by the critics. This film might have marked the beginning of the end for them as a team.

I can see Jim Carrey doing a remake of this for today's audiences. If not, every nerdy kid in America will identify with Jerry's character in That's My Boy.
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8/10
That's My Boy is a nice showcase for Jerry Lewis with Dean Martin in for good support
tavm19 August 2011
This is another Martin & Lewis movie I watched on YouTube. In this one, Jerry plays the son of Eddie Mayehoff who is a former college football hero who's still reliving his glory days whenever he wakes up in the morning but his son isn't even close to being that good athletically. So this father asks fellow high school graduate-and football hero-Dean Martin to room with him so he can train him to play the game. I'll stop there and just say that with this one, the story takes more emphasis in order to naturally serve the comedy scenes when they gradually come with Lewis toning down his hyperactive shtick immensely making him a bit more sympathetic than before. Martin himself doesn't appear until maybe after 15 minutes and it takes a while before he teams with Lewis. But when the laughs come, they are truly earned by Lewis and occasionally Mayehoff whether together or separately. So on that note, That's My Boy is worth seeing. P.S. Not counting the My Friend Irma sequel, this movie marks the first time in M & L history that a leading lady from a previous one reappears with them in another one. And like her last stint in At War with the Army, Polly Bergen has another charming duet with Dean, this time on Ballin' the Jack. And it's nice to see a player from my favorite picture It's a Wonderful Life, Lillian Randolph, play another amusing servant character named May.
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5/10
Jerry and Dean are the oldest seniors until John and Olivia in "Grease".
mark.waltz26 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There is one point in this film where not so proud papa Eddie Mayehoff begins to think that high school football player hero Dean Martin was switched with his son Jerry Lewis at birth. Wife Ruth Hussey has to remind him that Jerry was born at home, and I don't even consider checking out Dean's birthday. If they did, they'd find out he was much older than what he is playing here, and the same goes for Jerry. It's the weirdest casting for graduating high school students that I had seen in an older film, even though it isn't necessarily a bad film.

This is a different type of role for Jerry Lewis. His character is said to be rather sickly, needing a certain diet and allergic to many foods, and susceptible to colds which is why he leaves his window closed and only rushes to open it when his father knocks on the door. Lewis is also easily knocked over when his dad makes his mom and housekeeper Lillian Randolph act out a football play, and when Lewis does try to play football, he makes all sorts of errors until making a surprising touchdown which the coach simply calls an accident.

Anybody who was ever picked last in a high school gym class will relate to Lewis here, yeah I can relate to the character of Dean Martin taking Lewis under his wing to help him become a better athlete thanks to kids in my class to try to do the same thing. It's also a bit manipulative for the father to force Lewis to go to his local alma mater rather than the agricultural college out of town that Lewis really wants to go to. But everybody gets together to help Jerry readjust and become a better athlete, and that's presented as a good thing. There aren't any bullies, just kids of a different strength, and that makes this seem like a high school and college that never existed in history.

Dean Martin gets to sing a jazzy version of the standard "Ballin' the Jack" (also sung by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in "For Me and my Gal", and years later, Gilda radner and Dom DeLuise in "Haunted Honeymoon"), and there's also a Charleston which is rather strange considering the assumed time period in which this takes place. Still, it is a pleasant film, even if it's lack of reality is obvious. Martin and Lewis have terrific chemistry, even though Dean really has very little to do.
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5/10
Not one of the better Martin/Lewis films
drawah6410 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film, while enjoyable, has quite a few flaws. The idea of casting Martin and Lewis as graduating high school students/freshmen in University. While Lewis can obviously pull off his role as a 'nerd', Martin doesn't look anything like someone in their late teens, and it's almost laughable when they refer to him as such in the film.

Eddie Mayehoff is very good in his role, but overall I don't think this was a good vehicle for Martin and Lewis. By that I don't mean they're bad in it, but rather it doesn't give them a chance to display their talents much. Lewis doesn't get many chances to do his slapstick, silly voices and wild takes. He plays his typical eager, earnest youngster, but in most films that's simply one of his character's aspects. Here, it's the whole thing. Martin doesn't get the chance for many songs, either.

The script itself, and the editing, can also be clumsy at times. The repetition of the already-silly line "It's all for you, Junior" becomes unintentionally hysterical as 'Terry' says it for a third time, and the scene ends with her, Lewis and Martin just standing there, staring at each other awkwardly. There's an overly long scene of Eddie Mayehoff's character singing the school song, with no punchline at the end. The clunky, bare-bones editing stops the finale from having any tension. Before you can ask yourself "will Junior be able to win the game with this kick?" he's already done it.

If you're a Martin and Lewis completist, like a member of my family is, obviously you'll want to see this, but if you're just looking to see a funny Martin/Lewis movie, I recommend watching one of their better ones like "The Stooge", "The Caddy", or "You're Never Too Young".
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