Friday, June 25, 2010
Review: "Grown Ups"
"Grown Ups," the new Adam Sandler comedy, is about what you'd expect. A quintet of childhood buds reunite 30 years later to recapture a bit of their glory days, in between hassling with their wives and kids and razzing each other mercilessly.
There's potty humor, there's sexual put-downs galore, there's inappropriate ogling of each other's daughters and/or wives. The humor is crude and broad, the hearty laughs few and far between.
In other words, it's another thingamajig stamped out by the Sandler assembly line.
You'll note I call it an Adam Sandler movie, despite the presence of co-stars Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider -- all "Saturday Night Live" alums like Sandler, except James, who had his own lowbrow TV show. Sandler wrote the screenplay (with Fred Wolf) and brought along his pet director, Dennis Dugan.
It's not very funny, but as the mob tough in "The Untouchables" said about their illicit booze, it's not supposed to be good, it's supposed to be bought. Sandler has a built-in audience that will show up for anything he does. Occasionally, something decent ("50 First Dates") slips past the machine.
Sandler plays Lenny, the leader of the 1978 summer basketball champs who've gone their separate ways. When their old coach dies, it brings them back for his funeral and a weekend at the old lake house.
Lenny's a Hollywood super-agent, married to Roxanne (Salma Hayek Pinault), a famous fashion designer. Their two sons are borderline brats addicted to their Playstation and ordering the nanny around.
The rest of the crew: Eric (James) is the funny fat guy, married and with a couple of kids of his own. Rock plays Kurt, a house-husband who receives a daily tag-team henpecking from his wife (Maya Rudolph) and her mother. Marcus (Spade) is the boozy swingin' single dude. And Rob (Schneider) has gotten all New Age-y and uptight.
They're stale, unimaginative parts, but let's face it: Spade, Schneider and Rock's film careers have gone ice cold lately. It's almost sad how they always run home for supporting roles in Sandler's lame flicks.
(If that's not bad enough, fellow SNLers Colin Quinn and Tim Meadow are trotted out for walk-ons in the obligatory rematch of the big game. Meadows' part is so small, I actually felt sorry for him.)
I found a handful of chuckles here and there. I liked Maya Rudolph, very pregnant, doing a little booty-and-belly dance and chanting, "Baby got front!" And there's some doofy slapstick scattered about.
But mostly the jokes are one-note, or quickly grow tiresome with repetition. Some examples:
Rob's wife (Joyce Van Patten) is much older than him, and their constant sexual fervor for each other grosses out the rest of the gang. It's funny because she's old!
Eric tries to water ski, but the boat can't budge his heft. It's funny because he's fat!
Rob's giving his (old!) wife a heated-rock massage, and burns his hands on one that stayed in the steamer too long. Then he drops it on her back and she screams. It's funny because it's hot!
Eric's improbably gorgeous wife (Maria Bello, slumming) still breast-feeds their son, even though he's four years old. It's funny because it's boobies!
I could go on, but let's save each other the trouble. We both know "Growns Ups" is the very definition of a critic-proof movie. But I'll bet the $9 you're thinking about plunking down for this moronic flick that there's something better playing at the cinema.
Well, not "Jonah Hex." Yech. But something.
1.5 stars out of four