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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Grown Ups

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Grown Ups

Have you ever been in the position where you were forced to watch someone's home movies or vacation video, but had absolutely no desire or interest and couldn't care less?  Worst of all, as you suspected, it winds up being a total bore that only the people involved would enjoy.

Now you have the idea, or better put, get the picture of what you are in for. In other words, you are hereby forewarned about Grownups, a self indulgent, unfunny comedy, scripted by actor/comedian Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf, directed by Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) and produced by Sandler's company Happy Madison.

It is so blatantly obvious that Sandler came up with Grownups as an excuse to gather all his friends from SNL and have them filmed while having a jolly good time at the expense of hard working, ticket paying movie goers.  I guess, Sandler is lucky enough to have the power and his own production company to do whatever the heck he wants in hopes his fans will be so stupid as to buy into it. The result is an insult and even his most devout fans should be put off by this awful flick.

Simply stated, Grownups is a waste of time that could have been better spent cleaning my house.  There is not much of a plot to speak of, just a barely laid foundation for a bunch of guys to get together and act foolish.

It begins in 1978 as five young friends take part in winning their team's basketball championship.  Fast forward thirty years, and the now all grown up men who had gone their separate ways, reunite with their family in tow at a lakeside house they loved as kids after the funeral of their beloved coach (Blake Clark).  

Lenny (Adam Sandler) is a powerful, rich, Hollywood agent married to stunning Roxanne, an equally successful fashion designer (Salma Hayek). Embarrassed by his wealth and spoiled, privileged children, he is afraid to reveal the fact that he has an Asian nanny and refers to her as an exchange student, although she is always getting caught wanting to be of service (no, not in a sexual way) to her boss.

Lawn mower salesman, Eric's (Kevin James) wife Sally (a boob enhanced, Maria Bello) is still breast feeding her four year old son, most often in public. Kurt (Chris Rock) is a stay at home husband, married to high powered, very pregnant wife Deana (Maya Rudolph) who brings home the paycheck.  Sharing their home is Deana's stereotypical, meddling, brassy mother (Ebony Jo-Ann).

Then there is Rob (Rob Schneider), a sensitive New Age naturalist/vegan, who is very much in love and lust for his much older, third wife Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), which of course, allows for the inclusion of cruel jokes.

Rounding out the group is Marcus (David Spade),  the one single, slovenly looking (for Spade, that's par for the course,) irresponsible, aging dude who drinks a lot and is on the prowl for any hot female that catches his eye including Rob's two bodacious daughters who show up, for no other reason than to be male eye candy and fodder for sexist humor.

The movie mostly revolves around the guys either sitting around sharing some supposedly comical back and forth banter or indulging in stupid shenanigans and idiotic behavior that results in getting injured or making a fool of themselves. In other words, rather than acting like grownups, they spend most of their time as immature morons. On that note, I would like to know why Kevin James is often shown running around with a KFC bucket on his head.

There is little if any real humor to speak of, unless l) you think a running joke about a dog with a weird bark because his vocal chords were clipped is funny, 2) the scene in the woods where Rob gets an arrow impaled in his foot during a game of arrow roulette is a hoot or 3) you can never get enough peeing or  fart jokes.

Mind you, Sandler and his buddies don't come close to being chick magnets, when it comes to looks.  Yet, they have the nerve to demean and poke fun at any woman who doesn't look like a Playboy centerfold model.  The boys are offensive and come off as disgusting, sexist pigs.

There is a minor subplot in which a few guys from the losing basketball team think they lost unfairly and, after all these years, want a rematch.  In these cameo roles are former SNL cast members and Sandler's buddies, Colin Quinn and Tim Meadows who were probably just happy to get some work.  But, why Steve Buscemi would partake in this disaster is beyond me.

It is sad to see such a waste of talent. Buscemi and Maria Bello, who was finally gaining momento with impressive movie work, has backslided in this hapless role that amounts to nothing more than a "milk machine".

To make matters worse, in the end, an inclusion of revealed confessions, along with a  pretentious "heartfelt" message about the "second phase" of life, falls flat.

It amazes me that during a broadcast interview with the cast and director about the making of Grownups, Dugan proudly admitted he didn't have much of a script or plot to work with and said to the guys, "Basically, let's just start riffing and see how much fun we can have."  It was clear these great pals they had a ball filming.  "We had a great time shooting and hopefully, it translates to the audience", added Kevin James.
I guess you had to be there to really get it. That was the problem.  For those of us in the audience,  Grownups proved to be nothing more than infantile.