Adam Sandler got together with long-time collaborator, director Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan) and four of his comedian friends; Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider to have a good time and make a comedy about friendship and family. A few well-known actresses were added into the mix and what could and should have resulted is enjoyable and fun cinema-fare. However the final product, Grown Ups is anything but. Self-indulgent, lacking a storyline and structure and trading on tired comedy set-ups- Grown Ups is disappointingly unfunny.
Each character has a quirk, which is mercilessly ridiculed for the entirety of the film (except Sandler’s character whose problem is he is too successful and has given his family too much). Sandler’s brand of humour has a lot of followers and as well as giving the comedian a big bank balance, it has also given him a lot of freedom in the films he makes. However Grown Ups goes beyond his normal brand of slapstick, gross-out humour. The characters (aside from Sandler’s) are picked on for being old, fat, ugly, stupid, short, unsuccessful and flatulent in ways that are more nonchalantly cruel than funny. With friends like these who needs enemies?
But it isn’t just Sandler who is not up to scratch; the other comedians’ shtick is also becoming old hat- James eats and falls over, Spade is pervy and Schneider embraces another weird persona- nothing new here. Rock, perhaps the greatest comedy hope in the film, gets lost in the mix and his biting sarcasm is sadly missed. The talents of Maria Bello (A History of Violence) and Maya Ruldoph (Away We Go) as well as Salma Hayek, as the wives of the piece, are ridiculously squandered as they are relegated to bit players.
The main problem with Grown Ups is pretty simple, it isn’t funny. The lack of effort in scripting and character development is nothing but lazy filmmaking, which could have been easily forgiven if this comedy had provided a few good laughs. While the comedians all appear to have had a great time making this film- it is unforgivable that this doesn’t translate into a good time for the audience as well.