Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Grown Ups" a Stunted Buddy Comedy

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Grown Ups (2010)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity
DIRECTOR: Dennis Dugan
WRITERS: Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf
PRODUCERS: Jack Giarraputo and Adam Sandler
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Theo van de Sande
EDITOR: Tom Costain


Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Joyce Van Patten, Ebony Jo-Ann, Di Quon, Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Madison Riley, Jamie Chung, and Ashley Loren

Adam Sandler’s recent summer comedy, Grown Ups, may seem like a family comedy, but it isn’t. There certainly are plenty of laughs for parents and their children, but this is an all-star, buddy-comedy aimed at Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers who are fans of Sandler and his comedian/comic actor friends: Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, and David Spade.

Grown Ups is the story of five childhood pals who reunite after 30 years to mourn the passing of their old basketball coach, “Buzzer” (Blake Clark). Most of them are husbands and fathers, but their families have never met. The leader of the friends is Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler), a high-powered Hollywood agent, who is married to Roxanne (Salma Hayek), a sexy fashion designer. Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) is a businessman married to a lovely wife, Sally (Maria Bello), who still breastfeeds their four-year-old son. Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) is a henpecked, stay-at-home dad whose wife, Deanne (Maya Rudolph), is the primary breadwinner. Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) is a thrice-divorced vegan married to a woman, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten) who is much older than him. Marcus Higgins (David Space) is merely a lazy womanizer.

Over the 4th of July weekend, these five men return to New England and gather at a lake house where they quickly reconnect. However, the great outdoors may test and/or strengthen the bonds of family and friendship in ways they never expect.

Grown Ups has cute child actors playing the children and good-looking (even sexy, especially the case of Salma Hayek) actresses playing the wives and older daughters, but this is about the quintet of Sandler, James, Rock, Schneider, and Spade. There are some good moments of family comedy, slapstick comedy, and raunchy comedy, but the focus is this modern day version of a “Rat Pack” movie. Grown Ups is aimed at the fans of the five stars, but even their fans will quickly realize that this is not their best work.

Grown Ups is an amiable comedy, but is nothing special. It is a domestic comedy with little, if anything, of substance to say about its middle-aged characters. I don’t know what to make of this film, but I suppose that because I like the stars I should be happy to get this gathering of pals. OK, I like it. Although as quality goes, Grown Ups is pretty bland and average, and the grade I give it reflects that I like these guys.

5 of 10

Monday, January 03, 2011

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