‘Grown Ups 2’ goes down like nails
By DANA BARBUTO - More Content Now
Adam Sandler’s annual summer money grab is the unnecessary sequel “Grown Ups 2.” And, though it’s every bit as horrible as the first film, Sandler gets credit for knowing just what his fans want – crotch shots of guys in tight shorts and deer urinating profusely. The audience I saw it with couldn’t get enough of the stale, sophomoric humor that left no bodily function untouched. In fact, the burp-snart (a burp-sneeze-fart combo) is one of the film’s running gags. You could make a drinking game out of it. I guess you need something like that when there’s no real plot.
In “Grown Ups 2” Sandler’s Lenny, a hot-shot Hollywood agent in the first film, has moved his family from Los Angeles to the small East Coast town where he grew up to reunite with best buddies Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James. They’re all townies, residing in a fictional Massachusetts town, where all memories – and grudges – can be traced to kindergarten. Each dude has to overcome some minor obstacle, such as Marcus (Spade) just found out he has a teenage son who comes to visit and the boy is an off-the-rails crazy oaf. Lenny (Sandler) has a childhood bully to confront and a wife (Salma Hayak) who wants a fourth kid. Eric (James) is afraid to jump off a high ledge in the local quarry and has to hide his close relationship with his mother (Georgia Engel) from his wife (Maria Bello). Rock is just squandered. The funniest guy in the whole ensemble has little to nothing to do. Ditto for “SNL” vet Maya Rudolph, another wasted opportunity. But not Shaquille O’Neal, who steals a few laughs as a large-and-in-charge local cop.
Back to that tulle-thin plot: A local college fraternity helmed by “Twilight” hottie Taylor Lautner threatens to wreak havoc on Sandler’s crew. It’s your classic townies vs. newcomers, youth vs. age clash. The climatic battle takes place at an 80s-themed party at Lenny’s house. Sandler – with two other screenwriters – Fred Wolf and Tim Herlihy – try to inject some heart into their script via showing the softer side of the guys as dads and how they tackle their issues from back in the day for the sake of setting good examples for their children. None of that however, makes up for the imbecilic brand of comedy full of tired put-downs (bald guys, beware) and rote gross-out stuff (how much projectile vomit does one flick need?)
Over the past decade, Sandler has headlined some of cinema’s worst comedies – “That’s My Boy,” “Jack & Jill,” “Just Go With It,” and this latest gem is no exception. It’s as if he’s making movies to keep his friends employed. From frequent director Dennis Dugan, “Grown Ups 2” is full of Sandler regulars – Nick Swardson Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows and Dan Patrick.
After every Sandler movie I see, I can’t help asking what the heck has happened to the guy who made “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates?"
• ”Grown Ups 2” is rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive language and some male rear nudity. The cast includes Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, and Mario Bello. I earned a C grade.