REVIEW: Grown Ups

19 07 2010

In “Grown Ups,” Adam Sandler and friends have three stages: childish, adolescently juvenile, and grown up.

When they are childish, the movie is old and trite.  We’ve seen all the bathroom humor, boob humor, fat humor, hot girl humor, and racial humor Sandler can throw at us.  It was funny in the ’90s whenever movies like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” were rocking the comedy scene.  But Sandler hasn’t changed his game much since then, and it’s time to move on from the silly and stupid just to get a quick laugh.  In fact, I usually just groan now.

When they are adolescently juvenile, the movie takes flight.  I assume that a lot of this is outside the lines, improvisational stuff.  I felt like I was watching them brainstorming one-liners for SNL in the writer’s room.  It’s like they are reaching out and including us in these creative sessions as they just rattle off joke after joke.  They have some clever wordplay and witty situations when they are at this level, and it’s where they should dwell more often.

When they are grown up, the movie is corny and laughable.  There’s that obligatory “oh, we’ve been joking the whole time, let’s grow up quickly and have a lesson” scene towards the end that derails all the comedic momentum the movie built up.  And this one is so bad and so out of place I can only hope Sandler and pals meant it to play off as a giant joke.

All comics are not created equal, as the movie shows us.  Sandler writes the best for himself, making he and his wife, played by the gorgeous and incredibly out of place Salma Hayek, the only normal ones.  Compared to him, the successful Hollywood agent, we are supposed to assume that everyone else is a loser in comparison to him.  There’s the Mr. Mom played by Chris Rock, the obese therefore butt of jokes played by Kevin James, the creepy bachelor played by David Spade, and the just plain creeper played by Rob Schneider.  Spade’s bits are stale, Rock is fair, Chris Farley’s doppleganger James is good enough not to make us yearn for the late star, and Schneider is as good as he’s ever been – which is to say that he wasn’t funny then and he’s not funny now.

So in the end, it’s that creative spark that comes from just reeling off one-liners and playing off each other that saves the movie from being a total disaster.  It’s that more refined immaturity that we don’t get nearly enough of that keeps us coming back to Sandler’s movies.  Because we don’t want Adam Sandler to grow up so much as just move on.  C /





Random Factoid #326

19 06 2010

I don’t watch much late night TV, not even the talk shows.

How does this tie in with the movies, which I tie everything into?  Well, I watch Letterman, Leno, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel whenever there is a big comedic movie coming out with a whole lot of stars doing the promotional parade.  The campaign has to take them to late night, so I buy in and watch them talk.  It’s pretty entertaining stuff.

The last time I made a concerted effort to watch a lot of guests was at the release of “Funny People” last summer when Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and more were doing the rounds.  This summer, I’ll be watching around the release of “Grown Ups” with its five stars that will most likely be lighting up the late night circuit.  It kicked off last night with David Spade on Leno, and I’m sure it will be in full force next week.

But let me share the three top moments of the “Funny People” cast’s appearances from last summer.

3. Seth Rogen gets rejected by Megan Fox

2. Jonah Hill and his fake Twitter account

1. Leslie Mann likes to Google herself