Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock
Directed by: Dennis Dugan (“You Don’t’ Mess with the Zohan”)
Written by: Adam Sandler (“You Don’t’ Mess with the Zohan”) and Fred Wolf (“Strange Wilderness”)
Adam Sandler’s reputation may proceed him as an actor, comedian, and screenwriter, but it’s probably time we refer to him differently now that his career seems to be on autopilot. Meet Adam Sandler the humanitarian. Since first forming Happy Madison Production Company in 1999, Sandler has single handedly kept his closest – and least talented – friends employed for a good part of the last decade.
For those of you who thought “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Strange Wilderness” or “The Benchwarmers” (all movies under the Happy Madision umbrella) were actually funny, “Grown Ups” might be just the summer nonsense you’ve been waiting for.
In “Grown Ups,” Sandler and his crew, which includes Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade, and a very much out-of-place Chris Rock, play five childhood friends who reunite after 30 years when their middle school basketball coach passes away. Not only did Coach Buzzer (Blake Clark) teach them how to be champions on the court, he taught them to live life without any regrets.
Somehow the sound advice translates into the geeky grown friends deciding they should spend the Fourth of July weekend together at the same campground they frequented as boys. Lenny Feder (Sandler), a hotshot sports agent, wants to show his bratty sons and fashion designer wife Roxanne (Salma Hayek) they can survive without luxuries.
Schneider plays a holistic vegan with an elderly wife he swaps spit with; Rock plays an underappreciated stay-at-home dad; Spade is the life-long bachelor; and James is, well, the fat guy (most of his moments come in the form of sight gags written specifically for the portliest actor of the group).
Written by Sandler (“You Don’t’ Mess with the Zohan”) and Fred Wolf (“Strange Wilderness”), “Grown Ups” is nothing more than lowbrow mockery between characters that is on par with a brainless collection of “your mama” jokes.
It’s painful and awkward to watch these men lounge around with goofy smiles and nothing interesting to say. While most of the dialogue seems improvised, the only ones that seem to be snickering at the stupidity of it all are the actors themselves.
Centered on a terribly-written, pun-filled screenplay, “Grown Ups” is another lame entry into the more juvenile projects Sandler can’t seem to kick. If he has any interest at all to make movies with more to offer than one-liners you could find on the walls of a public bathroom, Sandler will have to cut the cord that connects him to Dugan and his regular army of idiots.