Second helping of gross-out goofballs
Immaturity abounds in Adam Sandler’s writes of
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.