Grown Ups 2 (2013) Film Review, a movie directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swardson, Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Jon Lovitz, Shaquille O’Neal, Alexander Ludwig, and Georgia Engel.
Adam Sandler movies are a bit like McDonalds: you know the quality isn’t that great, you always remember it being better when you were younger but you always have a pretty good idea of what to expect. This has never been more true in Grown Ups 2, the latest paycheck for Happy Madison Productions. The usual suspects are all present, and the same fart jokes abound. I can’t say I was disappointed with the film, because the bar was already pretty low but with so much talent it still surprises me that they can’t come up with something a little funnier.
Unless you thoroughly enjoy the comedians in question (and I do though it was still tricky in parts), don’t see this movie. It isn’t worth your time. The biggest problem is that it so poorly straddles the line between raunchy humor and the family-friendly stuff, that it never really hits the mark on either. Apatow for example, will make an adult movie, knowingly, and sprinkle in some feel-good, family laughs. Sandler seems so unfamiliar with this concept I am worried for his own children. Perhaps this is a reflection on America today, where kids are growing up exceptionally fast but it seems wasteful to have jokes about prescription narcotics next to dating lessons for teenagers; either make one movie or the other. The worst part is that the writers of this film (Fred Wolf, Adam Sandler, and Tim Herlihy) should know better. Love the actors in this film or hate them, most are classic comedians, and despite some poor film choices (I’m lookin’ at you Zookeeper), they are genuinely funny. I would love to see what they could do with an R rating, or at least in some format where they could let loose.
Of course there are a few funny parts in the movie. You don’t just put these guys together and get nothing. A lot of it is the really silly, goofy humor that Sandler just knows how to make work but some of the best stuff is from new faces. Taylor Lautner isn’t exactly Bill Murray but he has some real comedic chops (if not for the sheer ridiculousness of his character). Regarding other Grown Up newbies, Nick Swardson is wasted – figuratively and literally, as his constantly intoxicated character reluctantly plays to the lowest common denominator.
It is true that comedy is always changing. We don’t laugh at all the same movies as our parents and our children will laugh at even different things. People can opine about the Internet diminishing attention spans and Youtube making it harder for comedians but in the end funny is funny. Good jokes are difficult to write, but guess what – that is why we pay exorbitant amounts for ticket prices. I guess I just expected a little more out of this movie, but then maybe I’m the one who has some growing up to do.