Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(Not So) Grown Ups

Grown Ups - (1 1/2 Stars)
Adam Sandler has been making movies for quite some time. Most of these movies, at least the ones he writes, are fairly similar. They follow a loveable loser, always played with the same immature charm by Sandler, who must overcome some obstacle or solve some problem. A common solution to these problems is that Sandler’s character needs to simply learn to grow up and take more responsibility. Also, there are usually a decent amount of laughs to keep the story chugging along. Lately, however, these laughs have been coming fewer, farther between and a lot more forced. “Grown Ups” continues this downward trend despite its all star cast of funnymen in Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider.

The group of friends, who played together on a CYO championship basketball team, is brought back together after 30 years when their coach passes away. Sandler, the leader of the group, is now a successful Hollywood agent whose kids are so spoiled they text their nanny for hot chocolate. The rest of the group, while not as well off as Sandler’s character, seem to be doing well enough. After the funeral they decide to spend the holiday weekend together at a lake house they often spent summers at to reminisce and put the coach to rest. It is at the lake house that they begin to realize that maybe things haven’t turned out the way they had hoped and aren’t living their lives the way coach may have wanted.

The movie is full of the usual sight gags, as well as many scenes where the comedians just riff on each other. Either way a lot of the jokes felt contrived or out of place. Often a joke would immediately be followed by a scene change or transition as if they were trying to fit in too much. While there are some parts where I found myself chuckling, overall the movie never really hits its stride.

I found myself wondering often throughout the movie why, with all of the talent involved, the movie wasn’t funnier? My best guess is that the actors just really wanted to do a movie together and hang out.  Unfortunately, this hang out time does not equal more laughs.

In the end, “Grown Ups” ends up being a disappointment. Despite its title, the comedy included in the movie is a bit childish. If you are looking for a summer movie that you don’t really have to think about and maybe laugh a little, “Grown Ups” should do just fine. If you’re looking for something a bit meatier, I’m sure there are plenty of other good choices at the theater right now.
 (102 minutes – Rated PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity – 2010) (Netflix)

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