Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Written by: Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Steve Buscemi
Grown Ups is 102-minutes long. That is important, because it sets the Hollywood milestone for longest film ever created without a script (not a fact). Oh sure, co-writers Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf probably wrote something down like, “guys go to water park,” or maybe, “guys play basketball.” The rest was purely on the shoulders of the familiar comedic talent, from Sandler himself to Kevin James, all the way down to that guy from The Waterboy who spoke gibberish.
On the set, this stuff was hilarious. Undoubtedly, some of this could have been done live, as when Marcus Higgins (David Spade) is passed out drunk on the couch. Eric (James) and Lenny (Sandler) begin smacking Marcus, pretending to be his mother. Put a bunch of comedians on set together and let the hijinks like that ensue… at least that seems to be the plan. When you do this, you still need something to tie it all together.
Here, the guys are drawn back to a cabin they stayed in when they were kids. Their grade school basketball coach has passed away. That’s the plot. No, seriously, that’s it. There is no connecting plot point or purpose to any of this. You would think there would be some zaniness involving the spreading of their coaches ashes. Nope. Maybe when the rival basketball team challenges them the plot will reveal itself? Nothin’ there either. Maybe the wives, dragged along on this trip, will find a reason to become angry with their husbands? Nah, that’s settled pretty quick too.
Grown Ups continually searches for a connection, or some basic drama or conflict, and never finds it. Scenes go on for an agonizingly long time with no purpose, such as the water park. The group pees in the pool, the women ogle a buff life guard, one of the grandmothers is splashed, and someone is injured doing an inept stunt. Afterwards? Nothing. It’s like the scene never happened. It has no connection with this script or these characters, besides giving everyone involved a free day on the water slide.
Grown Ups will make you laugh, at least if you’re in the target audience for an Adam Sandler movie. If not, then why you are even considering it is sort of odd. There are lots of fart jokes, poop jokes, boob jokes, naked man butt jokes, old woman kissing young men jokes (poor Rob Schneider), breast milk jokes, and some penis jokes to round it all off. It simply becomes monotonous. The eventual home video release will be filled with countless alternate takes, most of which probably just should have been included anyway. If the plot’s not going anywhere, at least let the comedic talent fly. — Matt Paprocki