More sunscreen than script
GROWN UPS 1/2
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello. Written by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf, directed by Dennis Dugan. 102 minutes, rated PG (course language). Showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua. You know how Sly Stallone put all those action heroes into the same movie? Adam Sandler’s done it with comedy stars – I like to call them The Excretables.
Call me a masochist, but I keep fronting up to Sandler movies hoping he will make me laugh as hard and as often as he did in Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.
Wake up Matthew, those movies were 15 years ago and their only connection to the Sandler of today is the Happy Madison Productions branding that precedes the lame-arsed servings of family-minded schmaltz he’s pimping himself out ever since.
Grown Ups is about five childhood friends – Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider – who bring their families together for a weekend at a lakeside homestead after the death of their old basketball coach.
Beyond hit-and-miss one-liners and put-downs that occasionally register a zing, there’s zilch going on here. Slapstick scenarios – rope-swing accidents, archery hazards, water park mischief – and sex jokes too crass for kids, yet too meek to appeal to their parents, struggle
been to conceal the fact there is barely the bones of a story.
The guys hang out, make jokes about each others’ wives and kids, face down some old schoolyard foes in a basketball game, and that’s about it.
The film’s title and The Big Chill-style set-up would suggest some level of midlife reflection, regret or observation. Unless it involves poo, farts or impalement, it doesn’t happen.
This is Sandler at his least inventive, and Rock – who is fast going the way of Eddie Murphy – at his most neutered and under-used.