Pros:Funny at points. Surprisingly touching and sweet at times.
Cons:Barely a complete film. Was there even a script?
The Bottom Line: Grown Ups is better than bad, but not close to great. You could do worse than watching this film, but you can also do better. Solid "thumbs in the middle."
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
I must first admit that I am not much of an Adam Sandler fan. That's not to say that I hate him. I enjoyed plenty of is work on Saturday Night Live and his movies never repulsed me. Honestly, I guess that's not much of a ringing endorsement. Either way, his recent film Grown Ups managed to work its way into my movie library over the holidays. My guess is that someone in my family new that I liked funny movies and with the film's cast, figured it would be a welcome addition. Initially, I wasn't too pleased. But, after watching the movie I can't complain too much.
Grown Ups features an all-star comedy cast of Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider. They all grew up together and were part of a championship basketball team as kids. When their beloved coach passes away, they all get together to celebrate his life and have an impromptu family reunion.
As is typical with family reunions, each family has their own problems and issues. And in Grown Ups these are uninspired and completely expected. Sandler's character of Lenny feels as if his kids have things too easy, James' 4 year old son still breast feeds, Rock and his wife don't communicate well, Spade is an aging playboy and Schneider blames himself for a slew of bad marriages. Of course, after a series of hijinks and learning experiences, each character manages to solve their problems and apparently go on to live relatively happily after ever.
If Grown Ups sounds like a movie you've seen before, you're probably right. There is nothing ground breaking here. In fact, it's almost as if Sandler and his writing partner Fred Wolf put together a basic outline of a film and then each comedian was able to include some personal bits as the story warranted. This isn't inherently a bad idea, but unfortunately, not everything works here. Sandler's character is really the only one that has a completely fleshed out story. All of the others are simplistic views of the characters lives.
Rock seems uncomfortable throughout the film. If you've seen his normal standup, it makes sense. He isn't able to unleash his inner dirtiness in this family friendly film. Spade plays the same character as he's been playing for the last 15 years and probably uses the same jokes as well. James' character is basically an extension of his King Of Queens character, but with a different wife. And finally, Rob Schneider's character is somewhat unique and does offer some of the best visuals in the film when his estranged daughters arrive on scene.
Even with the pedestrian script that seemed to be developed on the fly, Grown Ups does have some entertaining parts. Yes, much of the comedy is broad and hardly intelligent. But, much of it works. Amazingly, there isn't nearly as much gross out humor as I was expecting. And, the overall sweetness of the film nearly makes it suitable for the whole family. However, to say that there "isn't nearly as much gross out humor as I was expecting" doesn't mean that there aren't some gross parts. Luckily, the majority of it is quickly brushed over and young eyes might miss it.
The DVD release doesn't offer much and I think that in the case of Grown Ups that is probably a good thing. There is a blooper and gag reel along with a featurette called "The Cast Of Grown Ups." The reels are just what you would expect and the featurette is the dreaded "mutual admiration society" presentation where everybody says how great everybody else is on the film. A commentary, I believe, would have been just as pointless so kudos for not including one.
Grown Ups is the quintessential "thumbs in the middle" movie. The script is poor and the character development is completely contrived. However, the personalities are entertaining and the actors are pleasant to watch. Also, there is an underlining sweetness that is prevalent throughout the film and it actually presents a positive view of family life that is sometimes missing in cinema these days. Certainly, Grown Ups is not must see viewing. But, for a lazy winter's day, there are worse ways to spend your time...like with any recently released romantic comedy. Yuck!!
Read all comments (2)
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older