Film Review: ‘Grown Ups 2’

Grown ups 2 Movie

Among the slackest, laziest, least movie-like movies released by a major studio in the last decade.

The first scene in “Grown Ups 2” depicts a deer urinating directly onto Adam Sandler’s face. The penultimate scene (spoiler alert) depicts the very same deer apparently castrating Taylor Lautner. These bookends are not only the film’s highlights, they also represent the closest it comes to establishing any sort of narrative throughline. Among the slackest, laziest, least movie-like movies released by a major studio in the last decade, “Grown Ups 2” is perhaps the closest Hollywood has yet come to making “Ow! My Balls!” seem like a plausible future project. It is all but guaranteed a strong opening weekend.

A follow-up to 2010’s critically savaged yet massively lucrative “Grown Ups,” this sequel introduces a few changes. Most obviously, although Dennis Dugan is back in the director’s chair and stars Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade all reprise their roles as high-school buddies turned over-the-hill dads, Rob Schneider is mysteriously missing. But more importantly, while “Grown Ups” made some often cringeworthy attempts to shoehorn maudlin life lessons and character arcs into all the crotch smashing, this sequel barely attempts to function as a piece of narrative filmmaking at all, almost immediately devolving into a hash of frantic, random incidents strung together with the slimmest sliver of coherence.

Like “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Ulysses,” “Grown Ups 2” unfolds entirely within the span of a single day; in this case, the last day of school in a small Massachusetts town. Like “Ulysses” — though unlike “Mrs. Dalloway” — it features plentiful flatulence, and James Joyce might well have appreciated the neologism “burpsnart,” which describes Kevin James’ character’s ability to burp, sneeze and fart simultaneously. Whether he would have appreciated seeing this trick repeated no less than five times is an enigma for the ages, though the sheer amount of pissing, vomiting, ear picking, crotch sniffing, man-on-dog tongue kissing and belly-button lint eating that the film contains would surely push anyone over the edge.

The cast is massive — in addition to a cross-section of Sandler’s former “Saturday Night Live” compatriots, Lautner, Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Austin are among the newcomers — and rather than attempt to construct intersecting plotlines that involve all these thesps, the script (by Sandler, Fred Wolf and Tim Herlihy) instead simply doles out a single task for each character to accomplish (ask the girl out, avoid the bully, bond with the long-lost son, etc.), the vast majority of which are forgotten as soon as they’re introduced.

As bad as it is at tying up loose ends, the film is even worse at laying groundwork. In one scene, the central foursome come across a giant tire, and with no attempt at explanation or reasonable comedic setup, Spade is simply thrust inside and sent rolling through town, because that’s what grown men do when they find a giant tire.

SEE ALSO: Adam Sandler Gets Chatty at ‘Grown Ups 2′ Premiere

There are some mercies, however. Befitting Sandler’s personal reputation as a mensch, most of the actors seem to have had a good time onset. And while Sandler’s films usually feature wall-to-wall product placement, “Grown Ups 2’s” brand-whoring is constrained to a single — albeit seemingly endless — scene set prominently inside a K-Mart. The film also avoids some of the misanthropy and borderline racism that has emerged in so many recent Sandler projects, although a female bodybuilder comes in for some bizarrely elongated and repeated abuse, and never with more wit than the moment in which Maya Rudolph’s character randomly points at her and yells, “She’s got a penis.”

While the film is hardly distinguished by any of its craft elements, it’s never nearly as ugly as it is stupid.

Film Review: 'Grown Ups 2’

Reviewed at AMC Century City 15, Los Angeles, July 10, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 100 MIN.

Production

A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation of a Happy Madison production. Produced by Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo. Executive producers, Barry Bernardi, Allen Covert. Co-producer, Kevin Grady.

Crew

Directed by Dennis Dugan. Screenplay, Fred Wolf, Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy. Camera (color, Deluxe prints), Theo Van de Sande; editor, Tom Costain; music, Rupert Gregson-Williams; music supervisors, Michael Dilbeck, Brooks Arthur, Kevin Grady; production designer, Aaron Osborne; art director, Erin Cochran; set decorator, Jennifer Gentile; costume designer, Ellen Lutter; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/Datasat), Tom Williams; re-recording mixers, Tateum Kohut, Greg Orloff; visual effects supervisor, Edwin Rivera; visual effects, Rhythm & Hues Studios; special effects coordinator, Mark Byers; stunt coordinator, Scott Rogers; assistant director, Daniel Silverberg; supervising sound editors, Kami Asgar, Sean McCormack; second unit directors, Tyler Spindel, Rogers; second unit camera, Josh Bliebtreu, Karsten Gopinath; casting, Roger Mussenden. 

With

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Taylor Lautner, Nick Swardson, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Shaquille O’Neal, Alexander Ludwig, Georgia Engel, Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz, Steve Austin, Milo Ventimiglia, April Rose.

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  1. Terrence Linder says:

    Because,Jose,Sony gave them all huge paychecks! Even they know(the stars of this crap) how awful this movie is!!!!

  2. Jose says:

    This movie has got to be one of the worst I have seen in recent times, considering the actors who star in it. I actually felt embarrassed for Adam, Selma, and crew…not sure why they accepted to take the roles.
    Please save yourself the money and the agony of sitting through 100 minutes of stupidity, they should have stopped at the first Grown Ups. There is stupid funny and there is stupid funny….here they just rambled off and it got boring.

  3. Karl says:

    Honestly, Andrew and many who have posted seem to have alot of pinned up emotion which could easly be relieved through various means. But ripping on Adam Sandler, is like ripping on Charlie Chaplin and his slap stick comedies. Does Adam every portray himself as some great insightful director/producer? I do not think so…he simply is doing slap stick with a bunch of guys in a Saturday night style. Andrew if you are really some sort of genius when it comes to the creation of great comedic creation, go forth in the world and create foool!

  4. Dale says:

    Andrew you wouldn’t know a good comedy if it slapped you in the face, your an idiot. Grown Ups 2 was one of the funnest movies this year.

  5. If you don’t go in expecting an academy award performance, expect ” cheese ” and humor reminiscent of ” meatballs ” or any other old 80’s comedy before we all got so critical and just wanted to have fun : it is a multitude of laughs and chuckles. Dumb… Yes! But most know that going in ! It’s a no thought required bunch of laughs, and we all need that occasionally too. We enjoyed it !

  6. uhhuh says:

    props for ripping this to shreds…Sandler needs to stop making movies.

  7. Rotten says:

    This movie currently is at 0% on rotten tomatoes. I’ve never seen such failure! Total cash grab of a movie

  8. The Kingslayer says:

    Why pay when you can just use Google for that?

  9. Terrence Linder says:

    You actually think this movie is funny? You must be as brainless as Adam sander,Chris rock, and maya Rudolph combined!!!!!

  10. The Kingslayer says:

    I hope to god people have the sense to see Pacific Rim and not this pile of manure.

  11. Lew says:

    And they say the Lone Ranger is an example of what’s wrong with Hollywood. While I agree with that observation Sandler is another example. While his movies cost relatively little, compared to flop blockbusters they bring in the bucks–which is all the movies seem to be interested in. Sandler brings in the bucks by appealing to the lowest brow elements of the public who are willing to spend money on garbage. His movies do nothing to enhance film comedy. His movies show no respect for the audiences intelligence (which he may have gauged correctly). They make some people laugh by shock value that is good for a momentary response. Some things are not funny after their first time. He is not even in the same category as the 3 Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Lewis or Mel Brooks, etc., all whom used slapstick. Sandler’s brand of slapstick is gross, ugly and mean. It won’t stand the test of time, as do the work of these earlier comics, and will eventually wear thin. The older Sandler gets the less able he”ll be to make this garbage. The problem is he’ll probably have influenced future filmmakers to dumb things down even further…if that’s possible. Between the overblown messes of the Lone Ranger, John Carter, Battleship, Man of Steel, and their like, and the garbage that Sandler cranks out is it any wonder that the movie industry finds itself in trouble.

    • cadavra says:

      Actually, his films are not cheap; the budgets routinely hit $90 million or more, which is inexcusable for films without costly visual effects or elaborate sets and costumes. Though after the failure of his last two pictures, I suspect he’s finally been reigned in somewhat.

  12. Kenmandu says:

    Sandler has fooled the public for years by making money from his sheer contempt for them, which increases with every nasty new effort.

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