By Dave Campbell | June 25, 2010
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph
Now fourty-somethings, Lenny Feder (Sandler), Eric Lamonsoff (James), Kurt McKenzie (Rock), Marcus Higgins (Spade) and Robert “Rob” Hilliard (Schneider) are five longtime friends who won their junior high basketball championship together but have grown apart by their different life paths. Now word comes that Coach Buzzer (Blake Clark) their beloved basketball coach has passed away and the guys (family in-tow minus Marcus) all head back to New England and reunite 30 years later to pay their respects and conveniently spend the Fourth of July weekend at the lake house where they held their coveted championship celebration with the now deceased coach.
Lenny is the most successful as a big-shot Hollywood agent, Eric is a furniture salesman, Kurt is a house husband and aspiring chef, Marcus is a lady loving bottle hugger, and Rob is a vegetarian-New Age-massage therapist in a relationship with a much older (elderly) woman. Ultimately the five old friends and their families have become disconnected from the real world and each other. This extended weekend gives them a chance to rekindle old childhood memories and create new ones for their own children.
Directed by Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry) another old pal of Sandler’s, Grown Ups falls right into the fat jokes, potty humor, and jabs at vegan/vegetarianism that reveal it’s true colors right away. Don’t expect any amount of intelligent humor to fuel your brain cells, because there is none of that here. I’m not going to lie though, the razzing between the real life friends Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider was somewhat fun and produced more laughs than expected (however cheap and lowbrow they may be), which kept it just above Couples Retreat in entertainment value.
The setups of this comedy are completely contrived and predictable, but some of it ends up working because of the chemistry that the cast has from the previously mentioned friendships and years of working together. It also helps to have the usual cameo appearance of Steve Buscemi and the additional SNL alum Norm MacDonald, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph and holy shit…is that? yes, yes, I do believe that Colin Quinn has been dug out of the hole he’s been in since MTV’s Remote Control (I know he’s done other stuff, but name one without checking IMDb). Then there’s Salma Hayek; she’s never looked better, and never has her talent been so wasted.
For a while Adam Sandler seemed to be “growing up” a little and reaching further into the craft of acting. The Wedding Singer, Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me and Funny People all added varying range to the Sandler palette, but Grown Ups takes several steps back into the non-acting, just hanging out with the guys Adam Sandler that we’ve seen all too often. Grown Ups low balls for an audience opposite from the definition of it’s title, making this film a case of false advertisement.