One of my greatest fears has been confirmed by seeing Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups.” My favorite cast of “Saturday Night Live” from the 90s is starting to lapse into Eddie Murphy syndrome: they have no problem with making crappy family comedies just to cash paychecks.
Watching this poor excuse for something funny made me embarrassed for them. I expected a few lowbrow laughs from these folks who capitalized it after their stint on “SNL.” I hoped perhaps though that these seasoned comedians had something better up their sleeves.
“Grown Ups” stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, and David Spade as childhood friends that reunite after the passing of their basketball coach for a 4th of July weekend in New England.
It has been years since any of these men have seen one another so they each have their own insecurities they are hoping to mask when they bring their families together for the first time. The big shot Hollywood agent Lenny Feder, played by Adam Sandler, tries desperately to prove to his friends that he’s not a rich jerk, while Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) attempts to hide his hard financial times. Chris Rock’s effeminate house husband is also in direct contrast with David Spade’s macho single guy. Probably the strangest one in the bunch however is Rob Schneider’s hippie massage therapist.
It’s interesting that after all their time apart these adults who are completely different people still manage to get along. Fred Wolf and Adam Sandler’s dialogue includes quite a bit of ribbing that the characters engage in, which is meant to show the audience how close these friends are. Unfortunately most of it comes off like its mean instead of good natured. In laboring to create a dynamic between the guys, the writing inherently kills it.
Most of the movie’s running jokes are incredibly weak, relying on crude humor for laughs. There are bad gags involving breast feeding, bunions and ogling young bodies, to name just a couple of areas “Grown Ups” manages to act immature. Sandler and Wolf attempt to tell a story that’s heartwarming about friendship and family, however the end result is repulsive because it is so juvenile.
You can easily tell that none of the main actors are emotionally invested in the parts, limping along through their performances with little flair or subtlety. The least funny of them all is probably David Spade, whose single guy attitude just comes off as obnoxious bordering on pathetic. Chris Rock as a doting stay at home dad is pretty funny though, with Maya Rudolph portraying his wisecracking better half.
This film is incredibly disappointing for anyone who is a fan of this crew from their days on “SNL.” Immature jokes that fall flat and rotten performances from the main actors seem to indicate they are all going through the motions to collect a paycheck.
My Grade: C-