Jen Yamato
Grown Ups Review

Jen's Rating:

1.5

A five-way, PG-13 roast.

Who's In It: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Salma Hayek Pinault, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Joyce Van Patten, Ebony Jo-Ann, Jamie Chung, Di Quon, Madison Riley, Colin Quinn, Steve Buscemi, Tim Meadows

The Basics: Five former friends (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Kevin James) reunite with their families at a lake house to mourn their late basketball coach over the Fourth of July weekend. Here in the great semi-outdoors, these middle-aged man-children wax nostalgic, complain about wives and in-laws and their spoiled brat kids, and fend off the contentious townies (led by Colin Quinn) still bitter over losing the championship 30 years ago. What they like to do best, however, is make fun of each other, which they do nonstop until director Dennis Dugan and co-scripters Sandler and Fred Wolf remember to shoehorn in a smattering of heartfelt revelations to give Grown Ups its forcedly poignant, predictable ending.

What's The Deal: Clearly, Adam Sandler wanted an excuse to hang out with his friends for the summer. At least they got something out of it; the audience, on the other hand, will be left wondering where all the funny went in the years since Sandler and Co. (minus James) earned their stripes as the young stars of '90s-era Saturday Night Live. The biggest problem isn't that the story wastes talented ladies like Rudolph, Bello, and Hayek Pinault (who can be funny when she wants to be, and is credited by her new married name), or that it forces a faux-sentimental ending that doesn't feel authentic. It's that so much of the jokes consist of physical gags, crude humor, and the five leads ribbing each other over everything from physical appearances to lifestyle choices, turning Grown Ups into an hour and 40 minute long, five-way, PG-13 roast with more lame jokes than actual laughs.

What Passes For Humor In Grown Ups: Characters make repeated references to how fat Kevin James's character is, how fancy and "Hollywood" Sandler has become, Spade's party lifestyle, Rock's life as a stay at home dad, and Schneider's May-December marriage to a senior citizen. Also: pee jokes, boob jokes, arrows-in-the-foot jokes, breastfeeding jokes, eating-fried-chicken-covered-in-their-dead-coach's-ashes jokes, more pee jokes, and not one, but TWO O.J. Simpson jokes.

Okay, I Laughed When: Chris Rock and Tim Meadows argue over who gets to be the token black guy in this otherwise all-white, working class Massachusetts community.

What I Thought About As Maya Rudolph Was Getting Sprayed In The Face With Breast Milk: That somewhere in the world, Rudolph's multiple Oscar nominee/filmmaker baby daddy Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood) was watching his lady getting sprayed in the face with breast milk. Did he laugh? And if so, does that make him any less of a cinematic genius?

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