Thirty years after they won a basketball championship, five friends reunite for the funeral of their coach. That, in essence, is the story being told in Grown Ups, the year’s first legitimate multiple Razzie contender.
The five guys – super agent Lenny Feder [Adam Sandler], business co-owner Eric Lamansoff [Kevin James], henpecked house husband Kurt McKenzie [Chris Rock], aging ladies’ man [in his own mind] Marcus Higgins [David Spade] and hippie holistic healer Rob Hillard [Rob Schneider] – drag their wives and kids to this reunion – except of course, for the very single Marcus.
Over the next one hundred and two minutes, they, and their wives and kids, will learn precious life lessons. Of course, to get to those life lesions, we have to wade through a movie that doesn’t know whether it wants to be a sweet family comedy, or a nasty, mean-spirited farce. For every moment of warmth [the kids all discover the joys of cup telephones and skipping stones on a lake] there’s a moment of hurtful gibes [Kurt’s mother-in-law has a bunion the size of Rhode Island, spawning a swak of puns like Toebe Bryant, ToeboCop and so forth; arrow roulette].
The first act is filled with in-jokes that may mean something to the five guys playing the friends, but mean nothing to us. From there, the movie careens from scene to scene without any consideration for the audience – a scene on a bright sunny afternoon yields to a scene much later – it’s dark and everyone is sitting around a table. How did they get there? What’s the connection? Clearly, neither writers Sandler and Fred Wolf, not director Denis Dugan have any idea.
Then, before the you-knew-it-was-only-a-matter-of-time rematch of The Big Game, we get the movie’s message – dispensed with a shovelful of sincerity by Rob’s octogenarian wife, Gloria [Joyce Van Patten]. This while we’re all wondering how the other three married men wound up with Salma Hayek [playing a haughty designer], Maria Bello [source of one of the worst gags in the film] and Maya Rudolph [a high-powered executive] for wives.
How bad is this movie? Rob Schneider got the biggest laughs. Need I really say more?
Okay, how about this: it wasn’t worth what I paid [nothing] to see it.
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