Movie Mind Says: Add to Online Rental List
If You Like This You Should Watch: Spanglish, Couple’s Retreat, Hot Tub Time Machine
Better Than: Role Models, Click
Worse Than: Funny People, Big Daddy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello
Most guys have a group of friends that gather together on occasion and reminisce about the “good ol’ days” with inside jokes and some good-natured ribbing on one another. Most guys also know that there is nothing funnier than when you tell countless “inside jokes” and your side hurts from laughing so much. So one would think there would be nothing funnier than a movie about those times, right? The difference here is that those jokes are only funny because they are your inside jokes. This entire film I felt like I was sitting at a 15-year college reunion amongst a group of friends that I was not a part of. Let me tell you, as funny as your own inside jokes are, it’s just as annoying and unfunny to be a part of someone else’s running inside jokes. That is Grown Ups in a nut shell.
If I have learned anything during my time watching and reviewing movies (besides that having instant recall of a lot of useless knowledge doesn’t do a whole lot for you career-wise), it’s that the more marketing that’s thrown behind a movie’s release, the worse it turns out. This is more often than not a great indication of the quality of the film. Usually when a movie can stand on its own as a piece of entertainment, natural word of mouth will produce more results at the box office than an endless stream of billboards, ads, and appearances. Once I couldn’t even get through an episode of Sportscenter without seeing one of these guys’ mugs unwillingly plastered on the screen, I knew to lower my expectations. This film is marketed directly toward my demographic. It stars actors I spent my formidable years watching and enjoying, and put them in a similar point in life as myself. Yet I simply could not get into the story, dialogue, jokes, or anything else they sloppily threw my way.
You have already learned everything you need to know about the plot from the commercials and trailers, in addition to seeing the biggest laughs in the film. There were about a handful of chuckles with maybe one or two actual laughs. As the old crew reunites for the funeral of their old basketball coach, they find each other struggling with one crossroads after another with their families. Predictably, they need to fall back to the old times at the lake house when their lives were much simpler in order to remember their roots and learn about how they got to that place in their lives. After they recreate a battle with some old nemeses, they realize they might be better off than they thought.
There wasn’t a single performance that stood out for any good reasons, but Chris Rock and Salma Hayek were particularly painful to watch. David Spade was mildly amusing but the other characters’ banter constantly sounded forced and was simply not funny.
The only smart decision the film made was to release it in the summer. Usually people don’t mind seeing a movie on a rainy day that is set at a nice lake house with a rope swing and canoes. Just the setting brings back elements of nostalgia, if not the movie itself. Let’s hope something your group of buddies might be able to take from watching this is to get the gang back together soon. As you will learn by watching it, being an outsider at someone else’s party is no fun. There is just no substitute for your own crew.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Steve Buscemi (makes his regular cameo appearance in Adam Sandler’s films, along with the rest of his usual characters) as Wiley, childhood foil to the group of guys and pasty adult who is still clinging to the past.
Lenny Feder: Higgy!
Marcus Higgins: Hey, what’s up, Lenny? Buddy, I thought you were gonna start working out.
Lenny Feder: What does that mean?
Marcus Higgins: Um… you’re fat.
Lenny Feder: No!
Lenny Feder: We needed to be here. Our kids were turning into little brats.
Lenny Feder: I bet you 5 bucks he gets on one knee.
Kurt McKenzie: You’re on.
Deanne McKenzie: How about I take you out for a date night every Thursday?
Kurt McKenzie: Well, Thursday night is Grey’s Anatomy, but any other night would be great.
Marcus Higgins: Hey Y, where’s MCA?