Grown Ups

26 Jul

Title: Grown Ups
Year: 2010
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writer: Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Joyce Van Patten, Steve Buscemi
MPAA Rating: PG-13, crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity
Runtime: 102 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%

Grown Ups is another Adam Sandler typical comedy, he’s here with his pals, directed by the guy who has directed him three times in the last four years, and as an Adam Sandler comedy this one’s, I guess, okay, I mean sure, the direction is completely monotone and the humor isn’t all that great, but you have Adam Sandler and four of his long-time friends and partners in crime, and audiences love his brand of humor, this one has already crossed the $150 million mark and it’s still running, add that to Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Bedtime Stories and this is Mr. Sandler’s tenth film to cross the $100 million mark in just as many years, so yes, this guy is a huge box office draw, no matter how great his films ultimately are.

But if we are here to judge just that, how great the films are, and I guess we are, this one isn’t that great, this one just feels lazy, as though Sandler just decided to team up with his pals and get them all good paychecks to have fun and lost interest in everything else, the jokes aren’t great, they were probably much funner if you were there in the moment and with your friends like these actors were, and the camera angles are pretty shitty, too, which only adds to the notion that these guys just got together and made a $70 million home video and then released it to grosses of $150 million, but the fact that how much these guys like one another translates so well in this film does salvage it from serious crappiness, so at least there’s that.

I do like that Adam Sandler can still play the guy that can’t grow up at 43 years-old, it may be true that the two Sandler performances I find extraordinary came in Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, his two most dramatic roles, but each of those films made less than $25 million at the box office even if they were critically acclaimed, his other great role came in last year’s Funny People, which was another commercial disappointment, so what I’m trying to say is that this guy is loved when he’s like this, when he’s in his mindless-fun mode and he acts childish, and as that this one does succeed, I guess.

It’s about five guys who as kids were in the same basketball team, and then the coach of that team dies and the guys are now, as the title says, grown-ups, and these grown-ups return to the cabin where they celebrated their biggest victory years ago, and then you know how it will all go, it will be a string of not-classy-at-all physical comedy, sometimes at the expense of Maria Bello’s character who’s still nursing the son she has with Kevin James’ character, there’s also water park stuff and, of course, a basketball game with old rivals who want revenge, and Steve Buscemi obviously makes an appearance.

This is a film that means well, that has is obligatory emotional scenes when the characters make confessions about their lives to each other and remember their past together, most of the times when they do this it all sounds too forced, the good-heartedness of it all lost in a PG-13 comedy that has too many obscene and unsophisticated jokes and gags,and what’s really bad about it all is that these jokes really aren’t funny at all, and the reason why I think they weren’t funny was because the guys didn’t have time to shine, I mean, Mr. Sandler and Mr. James are two funny guys who could have done some great stuff had they been given the time, the girls who play the wives, too, you have former SNL MVP Maya Rudolph who does pretty much nothing and Maria Bello who is reduced to the aforementioned breastfeeding gags, but the fact is that this cast has five full-time members and another five that have considerable screen-time, and there’s just not enough time for them to shine individually, and unfortunately for us they don’t really get it done as a cast, blame that on whatever you want, the direction could be a good target, but the fact is that this wasn’t great, and another fact is that audiences don’t really care about this one being great, they just like to see these five guys being childish again, and they’ll pay good money for that.

Grade: C

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