'Grown Ups': Adam Sandler in an immature film about maturity
A review of "Grown Ups," an immature film about maturity, starting Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Salma Hayek.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Grown Ups,' with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph. Directed by Dennis Dugan, from a screenplay by Sandler and Fred Wolf. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some rear male nudity. Several theaters.
The new Adam Sandler comedy "Grown Ups" is unexpectedly low-key, and feels a bit like watching someone's vacation videos, with some extra granny-flatulence jokes tossed in. (Then again, I haven't seen your vacation videos.) Aimed squarely at the 40-something demographic, it's the story of five former kid-basketball teammates (Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider) who reunite, 30 years later, after the death of their beloved coach. Spending the Fourth of July weekend together at a lake cabin with their families after the funeral, they learn that friendship springs eternal. Among other things.
Those expecting tasteless content will find a smattering of it — breast-feeding jokes, sexual-desirability-of-older- women jokes, hot-teenage-daughter jokes — not to mention a healthy dose of pratfalls, including one that you can't imagine James would survive in anything resembling a real world.
But all of this feels beside the point, almost as if it's there out of contractual obligation. (Maybe it is.) Sandler and director Dennis Dugan (who's directed numerous Sandler films) seem more interested in something, well, a bit more grown-up. And as we watch the guys demonstrate their devotion to their wives and children, and their newfound loyalty to each other ... well, it gets pretty dull. Harmless, but dull. Dugan doesn't seem to know what to do with scenes in which people talk to each other — he's more comfortable with slapsticky montages of the gang at a water park — and "Grown Ups" turns out to be an oddly immature film about maturity.
The cast is likable enough to keep things watchable, particularly James and Rock. (Among their wives, Maya Rudolph and her dry wit get some funny moments, but the movie is more interested in the women as sight gags.) And it's nice to see Sandler trying something a little different, even though it seems out of his and Dugan's comfort zone. But still — 102 minutes of vacation videos, even with movie stars and butt jokes in them, feels like too much, even for grown-ups.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org