Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider star in this celebration of arrested adolescence as five friend s reunited at the funeral of the beloved high school basketball coach. All married, except for the childlike Spade, they are at different stages of their lives. Schneider is a new age guru with a much older wife, Rock is a henpecked house husband, Sandler the hottest agent in Hollywood, with the hot wife (Salma Hayek) and James is the fat guy who falls down a lot. Like, a lot a lot. To spread their coach’s ashes they head to a cottage by a lake to spend the weekend, reconnect and endlessly trade good natured jibes. Over the course of the Fourth of July weekend their spoiled kids learn to live without cell phones, the boys play a dangerous game with a bow and arrow and ogle Schneider’s babelicious daughters.
“Grown Ups” isn’t quite rude enough for the Apatow crowd, but yet, not quite family friendly enough for grandma and the kids. For every outrageous joke about breast milk there’s a faux emotive or cutesy kid moment. The one liners come fast and furious—these guys only seem to be able to communicate by busting one another’s chops—but for the first hour there is precious little in the way of real jokes. It’s titter worthy rather than laugh out loud funny.
The guys have good chemistry, which they should, having spent years doing live television together, but it looks like the kind of movie that might have been more fun to make than to watch. These are (mostly) likeable actors but they’re not doing their most likeable work here. Sandler, for instance ruins a funny moment when his daughter says, “I want to get chocolate wasted!” with a snorting reaction that steps on the joke.
In the second hour Sandler is in heart warming mode but even this comes off as false. He spends the whole movie shrugging off his “Mr. Hollywood” nickname, but then in the climax—and I’ll be careful not to give anything away here—acts like a rich city slicker doing the local yokels a favor.
Luckily Sandler regular Steve Buscemi and the mangling of the name of a Canadian city provide some silly laughs.
“Grown Ups” is lowbrow with warm and fuzzy aspirations but misses the mark.