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Monday, November 8, 2010

Grown Ups Is Childish, but Not Funny

Grown Ups = 2 out of 5
Lenny Feder: Higgy!
Marcus Higgins: Hey, what's up, Lenny? Buddy, I thought you were gonna start working out.
Lenny Feder: What does that mean?
Marcus Higgins: Um... you're fat.
I like Adam Sandler, and I like Adam Sandler movies, but somehow, combined with a good amount of comedic talent, this still managed to be an aggressively unfunny movie. Some bursts of humor here and there, but for the most part the film is very poorly directed in terms of showing how to make a joke work and really under utilizes the talents of a very solid cast.


Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider star as childhood friends, who all grew up together in a magical place the movie subtitles as "New England." They won a basketball championship years ago, but when they here that there coach has recently died, they all meet up again for the funeral. Following the funeral, they decide to bring their families along to an old lakeside cabin they used to stay at for 4th of July weekend.

Sandler's character is a big shot Hollywood agent, married to a fashion designer played by Salma Hayek. James plays "the fat guy" (which we know because every joke involving him relates to him being fat), who is married to Mario Bello, who is still breast feeding her 4 year old child. Rock plays a stay at home dad, while his wife, Maya Rudolph, does all the working. Spade plays the sarcastic bachelor. And Rob Schneider plays some kind of kooky spiritual guy, married to a much older woman. As all the characters reconnect, they of course learn all about each other and their families, and hilarity supposedly ensues.

Oh...I almost forgot, in an attempt to have some sort of plot, Collin Quinn and a number of other old SNL and Sandler film members show up as the antagonists, challenging the old team to another basketball game.

Similar to a film like Couples Retreat (both in terms of ensemble cast/premise and the baffling amount of money that these films have ended up making) there is a lot of potential for a much better movie to have resulted. Given the cast (even Schneider) I was at least expecting to have good ole' Sandler style fun. That tone is certainly there, and a few jokes work, but man is most of this movie just flat and boring. Sandler and Hayek are kinda jerks throughout. James has stopped trying and only goes for the fat guy thing. I had to keep reminding myself that Rock was in this movie. I actually felt bad for Schneider (a rare phrase) because everyone kept picking on him. Spade managed to get some one-liners in, but that is of course counter-balanced with a shot of his ass and two shots of his face getting pushed into manure.

Even with all these cameos, no one really had a chance to shine in this movie. Its too cluttered, poorly set up, and more apparent that these guys had fun being around each other, than it was that maybe this could have been edited into a funnier movie.

So this is what happens. Sandler gives one of his best performances in 2009's Funny People. That of course flops, and so he is back to making his standard, silly gag movies, which isn't a bad thing, but it's like no one tried here, yet it will still make money.

Bad form Sandler. Bad form.

Bean Lamonsoff: Mommy, I want some milk.
Sally Lamonsoff: Come here. I'll give you a little something.
[starts breastfeeding Bean]
Roxanne Chase-Feder: Your son is so cute. How old is he?
Eric Lamonsoff: 48 months.
Kurt McKenzie: [pause] That's 4.
Eric Lamonsoff: [pause] Yeah.

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