Directed by: Dennis Dugan Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: June 25, 2010
PLOT: Five friends from childhood (Sandler, James, Rock, Spade, Schneider) are reunited for a wacky weekend of boyish fun with their families, when their old basketball coach passes away.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Those who enjoy the comedy from any five of these clowns are probably already programmed for the exact level of humor that this movie could offer. As for the title demographic, it’s more likely their kids will laugh more than the actual grown ups will.
EXPECTATIONS: I was unsure stepping into this one how it would turn out. I was aware though, that I had laughed a couple of times during the trailer, which I feel is a decent average for a comedy preview.
Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder: When he’s not razzing his friends, he is trying to spearhead some cultural lesson on what it’s like to be middle class onto his two spoiled children. Sandler is pretty tame here, and lets his co-stars provide the wackiness that he would have done ten years ago. Arguably, he could be the most grown up of them all. Score: 4
Kevin James as Eric Lamonsoff: The former Mall Cop is continuing to make a silver-screen career on being overweight and clumsy. Here, he breaks a pool, eats fried chicken, breaks a ski boat, and has an irregular bladder. Hilarious. Score: 2
Salma Hayek as Roxanne Chase-Feder: She only has a scene or two in which she can be comical, and it’s not very funny – it’s forced. However, Hayak did make me laugh during a scene in which apparently destroys her daughter’s childhood by ruining the magic behind the Tooth Fairy. This is probably not what she or the film intended, but it was more awkward than Hayak’s “I just threw a rock at my kid” gag. Score: 3
Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider as Kurt, Marcus, and Rob: These three grown ups are valued less by the script than James and Sandler, and possibly with reason. Have any of these guys had a hit on the silver screen in the past three or four years? Of these three, Chris Rock is the least funny, his bombastic appearance reduced to almost nothing but a demographic filler (which is funny when he jokes about it later in the movie). Spade and Schneider also have a frugal amount of personality traits between them, but Marcus’ perversion isn’t funny, and Rob’s sex life with an elderly woman certainly isn’t either. At least, I can thank Grown Ups for a new way to insult Schneider when I bump into him outside Burger King someday: “Filipino Midget Fonzie.” Score: 3
TALKING: Though the story takes place in “New England” as the title card reveals, there are hahd-ly any Boston accents to be heard, with an exception for Colin Quinn and his family (his wife says, “You made me spill my bee-ah!”) A large chunk of the script seems improvised, with the five main characters using put-downs that aren't as funny as their following uproarious laughs may indicate. Score: 4
SIGHTS: A heavy amount of cameos are spread out so that each appearance can be noticed in the “Is that Tim Meadows?” fashion. Appearances by Sandler-staples such as Steve Buscemi and Norm McDonald make for some possibly amusing moments, but Buscemi’s joke towards the end is overplayed. Man, I hate to say it G-Force, but you did pick the perfect voice for a pesky hamster. Score: 5
SOUNDS: During the credits, Adam Sandler sings a funny song written for his father called “Stan the Man.” A various playlist of classic rock is heard in the movie, featuring groups like Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and REO Speedwagon. During the movie’s funeral service, Rob Schneider sings “Ave Maria.” That’s all I should have to say about that one. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: There's one moment when Sandler slaps Schneider in the face a numerous amount of times. For the actor, it must be painful. But for an audience subjected to Schneider's trash for so many years, it feels good.
ENDING: Still crazy after all these years. But, there are no outtakes. All of those improvised riffings, and there are no outtakes during the credits.
REWATCHABILITY: Even if fans of Sandler and Co. enjoy this movie, there still isn't much in the film that is worth re-visiting. Most jokes lose their wear during the first viewing anyway.
I don’t want to get old. Not because I think I'll find movies like Grown Ups to be even less funny, but because according to Grown Ups, once you hit your forties, your life apparently becomes a freak show. A lot of the people around you suffer from intense psychological issues like sexual perversion, four-year-old breast-feeding, and not knowing what a non-flat screen TV looks like. On top of that, you are surrounded by bodily fluids that are often the main subject of something that’s supposed to be funny. Worse than all of this, your friends constantly make cracks on each other that get old and die, despite their insistence.
Alas, men will be boys with Grown Ups, a movie that shows how much Adam Sandler feels like he owes second-act goofballs like Rob Schneider, David Spade, and even, dare I say it, Colin Quinn. A fair amount of the comedy involves the five comedians razzing each other in a form that is most likely improvisational. This tactic also makes as a sneaky substitute for clever, sustainable dialogue. Since nothing really happens in this examination into the bonds of aging, perhaps just having these five dudes make fun of each other for an hour and a half will fill whatever emptiness of entertainment. And they have such a great time in this movie laughing at their own jokes; with the water parks, dinners, and outdoors activities, it looks like they're having a ball. Unfortunately, we are not.
Yes, I did laugh during Grown Ups, but not at the right moments. The reactions by the audience to the repetitive yuck-gags (the toe, the breastfeeding) were funnier to me than the actual written jokes themselves. The funniest moment in the entirety of Grown Ups came from an emotional note so cheap and simple that it might as well have come from a vuvuzela. Hayak’s character accidentally reveals that she herself is the actual "Tooth Fairy," something that creates a maternal conflict between character Roxanne and her daughter. The theater was silent, and I, a bitter old young man, was laughing to myself much harder than any toe-pun or jab about Kevin James’ body fat could ever make me do.
Wait a second. Me? Laughing about the Tooth Fairy? I can feel the freakish nature of aging coming on now. “… Gooble gabble, gooble gabble, one of us, one of us!”
FINAL SCORE: 4/10