Sec­ond help­ing of gross-out goof­balls

Im­ma­tu­rity abounds in Adam San­dler’s writes of

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

EING a grown-up is tough! Some­times, just to pro­vide for your kids, you have to take a job that’s te­dious, point­less and de­grad­ing.

Like, for ex­am­ple, a role in Grown Ups 2, the odious Adam San­dler se­quel no­body’s been clam­or­ing for. Why else would women like Maria Bello, Maya Ru­dolph and Salma Hayek – moth­ers all – sign on for this cel­e­bra­tion of sex­ism, ho­mo­pho­bia and gen­eral a-hol­ish­ness?

All of which are also true of the orig­i­nal, 2010’s Grown Ups (both di­rected by long­time San­dler col­lab­o­ra­tor Den­nis Du­gan), but at least that movie had a plot. This time around, the oc­ca­sion is sim­ply the first day of sum­mer. Per­haps it’s a reimag­in­ing of Dazed & Con­fused for peo­ple who found Linklater’s movie too high­fa­lutin?

Morn­ing dawns in the home­town of Lenny Feder (San­dler), where he’s moved with his fam­ily af­ter giv­ing up his Hol­ly­wood agent job. He and wife Rox­anne (Hayek) are awak­ened by, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, a deer in their bed­room. It im­me­di­ately pees on Lenny, per the San­dler rule book.

Un­der­achiev­ing friends Kurt (Chris Rock), Eric (Kevin James) and Hig­gins (David Spade) are still around, though Rob Sch­nei­der’s char­ac­ter is ab­sent.

Kurt is thrilled be­cause he’s re­mem­bered his 20th an­niver­sary while wife Deanne (Ru­dolph) for­got, which gives him a mas­sive ‘‘get out of jail free card’’ and the chance to drink non-diet soft­drink with din­ner.

(Rock, al­most never a good judge of a screen­play, is bet­ter than this and looks like he knows it.)

Hig­gins is deal­ing with a visit from a son he never knew he had, a sullen teenager (Alexan­der Lud­wig) with a match­ing blond mop. And Eric is hon­ing his abil­ity to burp, sneeze and fart si­mul­ta­ne­ously, to the great envy of his mouth-breather pals.

The movie lurches from one gross-out scene to another, flip­ping the bird at con­ti­nu­ity and logic. It hon­estly seems as if San­dler and his team de­scended on a ran­dom sub­urb, half­heart­edly im­pro­vis­ing and mov­ing on when they got bored.

Once-promis­ing comic Nick Sward­son shows up as the school bus driver, strung out on pills be­cause his wife dumped him: ‘‘She caught me eat­ing a ba­nana with my butt.’’ Turns out he’s gay.

The wives gather for an aer­o­bics class, where they shud­der at the ap­pear­ance of a man­nish fe­male in­struc­tor and coo over a hunky guy un­til find­ing out that he, too, is gay.

The men head for the lo­cal swim­ming hole so Eric can face his fears (the movie’s big theme) by jump­ing off a cliff. There, they en­counter a group of lo­cal col­lege frat jerks, headed by Tay­lor Laut­ner (in a sober­ing glimpse at the post- Twi­light land­scape), who de­velop a ’roided-up vendetta against the old dudes. ‘‘Thicky Thick and the Flabby Bunch,’’ he dubs them, in one of the film’s most cre­ative mo­ments.

A brief re­prieve comes when Eric and his wife (Bello) are bait-and-switched at a cheer­leader car wash, and Andy Sam­berg and a pack of younger SNL guys show up in skimpy shorts. You hope it’ll blos­som into a video mock­ing the whole sex­ist premise, but no such luck.

They’re the only SNL peo­ple you don’t ac­tively pity; Colin Quinn, Tim Mead­ows, Jon Lovitz, Ellen Cleghorne and Cheri Oteri are another story. And let’s not even talk about why Steve Buscemi is still show­ing up for these things.

Af­ter stops along the way to watch Sward­son defe­cat­ing in a Kmart dis­play toi­let, the school prin­ci­pal eat­ing his own belly but­ton lint, Spade pro­jec­tile vom­it­ing, Quinn in a poop-themed soft-serve gag, and a lot of ogling of the hot school bal­let teacher, it all ends up with an ’80s-themed party at Lenny’s, where the host con­fronts his own child­hood bully.

Spoiler alert: The movie ends with San­dler lit­er­ally fart­ing on Hayek, which must be pun­ish­able un­der some Hol­ly­wood by­law.

In any case, San­dler sums it up him­self half­way through: ‘‘We’re ir­rel­e­vant! We’re losers! We’re old!’’ Age isn’t the prob­lem, buddy; no­body is more in touch with his in­ner ob­nox­ious 6-year-old than you. But two out of three ain’t bad.

Grown Ups 2 opens to­day.

From left: David Spade, Adam San­dler, Chris Rock and Kevin James re­unite in Grown Ups 2.

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