There’s nothing overtly offensive about Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups. There’s nothing terribly funny, or original either, in this tale about five middle age guys who reunite for a weekend after their beloved middle school basketball coach dies. As each takes stock of what they’ve have or haven’t done with their lives, we’re treated to cheap sight gags and tired jokes that elicit giggles here and there, laughs now and again and ultimately viewer’s remorse.
Sandler is Lenny, a successful Hollywood agent whose wife Roxanne (Selma Hayek) is a fashion designer. They abandon their plush Beverly Hills digs for a weekend, much to the dismay of their spoiled kids, to head back East for the funeral of his coach, which reunites Lenny with his former teammates. Eric (Kevin James) is the heavy one with self-esteem problems, Kurt (Chris Rock) who’s been relegated to househusband duties, Rob (Rob Schneider) who has problems with relationships and Marcus (David Spade), the horn-dog bachelor who’s never grown up. Together, they talk over old times, ogle at Rob’s hot daughters and engage in a basketball game against the team they defeated 30 years earlier.
While Sandler’s comedies will never be mistaken for high art, they have mostly been effective simply because the comic has never been afraid to push his gags to the limit within the parameters of his ribald, childish brand of humor. Here, the comedy on display is tame and generic with the actors on their best behavior, in an almost family-friendly flick about the virtues of friendship and humility. There’s nothing wrong with this message, however it holds little weight when it’s delivered as blandly as it is here. Here’s hoping Sandler and his crew haven’t grown up so much that they’ve permanently forgotten how to deliver the funny.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at email@example.com.