I’m sure that Adam Sandler is a very nice man. You never read anything bad about him in the news and he’s obviously very loyal to his friends. You’ll find many of the same names on the cast list of his films. He’s provided employment for a good many of his former Saturday Night Live cast mates and has formed his own repertory group of bros over the years. He’s coasting on his success and bringing his friends along for the ride – nothing wrong with that.
Sandler’s allegiance to his friends and the fact that he’s on autopilot where his career is concerned is obvious in his latest, Grown Ups 2, a sequel to his sophomoric 2010 hit about four high school buddies who reunite at their high school basketball coach’s funeral, decide to vacation together and realize they haven’t grown up a lick since their teen years. This time out, successful Hollywood producer Lenny Feder (Sandler) has moved his family back to his hometown so that his kids might grow up in a safe and wholesome environment. He hooks up again with his pal Eric (Kevin James) who’s a bit of a mamma’s boy, Kurt (Chris Rock) who’s the world’s laziest cable installer and Marcus (David Spade) who does nothing as far as I can tell. The four spend their days hanging out at Kmart, finding imaginative ways to waste time and along the way run afoul of a group of arrogant frat boys.
I know that I am not getting highbrow comedy when I go to see a Sandler film, but when the height of humor is a character pulling off a Burp-Snart (for the uninitiated, that’s being able to burp, sneeze and fart in quick succession), we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. There is plenty of boob and poop jokes as well as, some broad slapstick for aficionados of those clever comedic conceits, so despair not. What’s perhaps most galling is that this film and its predecessor are nothing more than a home movie of the star and his friends hanging out, having a good time and getting paid for it.
Look, one of the reasons we go to the movies is to escape and be swept away to a fantasy world, whether it be in a galaxy far, far away or a town where overgrown boys are married to gorgeous women and good times fill every day. As evidenced by the $41 million this movie took in during its opening weekend, Sandler’s vision of paradise is the preferred fantasy destination for many filmgoers and that’s fine. I just wish I didn’t have the feeling I was being totally taken advantage of while watching Grown Ups 2. I couldn’t shake the notion that I was watching nothing more than a home movie of a bunch of guys who were not just laughing at each other on screen but all the way to the bank as well.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.