Joyce Van Patten
Salma Hayek Pinault
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Grown Ups has some humorous moments, and the audience (and me) actually laughed out loud throughout. It would be hard not to, really, with a cast full of so many comedians, and this whole dude comedy thing has been pretty popular lately (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Hangover). Problem is that amongst all the jokesfunny or otherwiseit feels exactly like what it is, which is a chance for Adam Sandler and his friends to make a movie that consists of them making jokes while never really considering a plot or any sort of conflict to be important.
What tiny plot there is begins when all the guys (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, David Space) are in junior high, basketball buddies coached by the same inspiring coach whose death, now 30 years past their puberty heyday, has brought them back together for the funeral. Gathered with their wives and children at the same summer cabin where they spent their childhoods, the old friends reconnect and crack jokes about each other.
Annnndddd thats about it. Obviously no ones expecting Shakespeare, or some relevant equivalent in the world of modern day comedy. But it seriously feels as if the entire reason this film exists is because one day, Sandler was sitting around and thought, Damn, I havent talked to Spade in a whilemaybe we can round up the guys, some hot women, and make ourselves a summer blockbuster! As an afterthought, he may have tried to come up with a clever plot, but lost in his reverence for his own comic genius, he just went all plot-free and decided to go to summer camp and make fun of his friends. Its not a horrible movie, per se, and David Spade shows that hes funny no matter what the jokes are, but even the fluffiest of summer time wasters needs some sort of conflict, and though every couple has their own little family squabbles, neither those nor the clichéd and lackluster rivalry with the Bizarro-universe versions of these five make a conflict. Plus, how do you make Steve Buscemi NOT funny? Well, somehow, Grown Ups figured that out.
Again, though, its got its moments and good pointsthe guys really are funny together, and the aura of camaraderie is real. Its not exactly even like watching a movie, more like hanging around a bunch of guys that are full of inside jokes that seem amusing, but dont always hit the mark.
It's Got: A cast who likes each other, Some good jokes, A funny David Spade
It Needs: More story, Better use of Buscemi
Alternatives:Couples Retreat, The Hangover, Why Did I Get Married, Too?
One of those mildly funny summer movies that will soon be forgotten, Grown Ups will appeal to the people who grew up with these guys on SNL.