You’d think, as I’m a huge Saturday Night Live fan, that I would be thrilled to see the guys from the cast of the early 90s get together for a movie. But here’s the thing, out of those guys, I truly dislike two (Adam Sandler and David Spade) feel neutral-leaning-to-dislike towards one (Rob Schneider) and like one (Chris Rock). Throw in yet another guy I could care less about (Kevin James) and you get Grown Ups, a comedy with too many leads and not enough laughs.
The premise: all these fellas were on a middle school basketball team that won a championship. Though they’ve drifted apart in their adult lives, when this coach dies, they all reunite at his funeral. (Let me drift away from the synopsis for a just a second here to talk about the implausibility of this whole situation. We’re talking about a middle school basketball team here. Could you tell me the first name of your middle school basketball coach? Would you go to his funeral? Also, this coach seemed to have no other friends/family other than the kids who were on this team. He asks that Sandler give his eulogy, Schneider sings a song—what about his children and loved ones? Hell, what about the other basketball teams he coached? – he did get a new one each year. This bothered me for the entire movie…clearly).
So these guys each bring their entire family out to this funeral for this guy they once knew, and, Sandler, feeling nostalgic, rents this lakehouse for them all to stay at. And each of these guys, of course, has their own family issues. Sandler is crazy-rich and his children are spoiled brats; Spade is a womanizer who’s never settled down; Schneider has married an old hippy (and has been a terrible father to his three grown daughters); Rock’s wife is pregnant and he has a crazy mother-in-law who lives with him; James is low on cash (and his wife still breast-feeds his 6-year-old son). Basically comedy waiting to happen…or at least that’s what these guys thought.
But the comedy didn’t pull through for me; most of it was on the fart joke caliber and the funniest line (“I want to get chocolate wasted”) was featured in the film’s trailer. Plus, I just wasn’t able to feel for any of the main characters because there were just too many of them. I couldn’t tell you a single character’s name because each family was only given a minute or two of introduction. After that, the movie is old guys trying to relieve their glory days by doing stupid stuff. And yes, that last sentence refers both to the plot of the film and its creation.
As you might expect, I’m giving Grown Ups a 1/5. If you’re a big Sandler and crew fan, maybe you’d like it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Adam Sandler & Chris Rock
Buy the DVD