“Grown Ups 2” Movie Review

     I am fully aware there are people in this world who will see Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups 2” and consider it solid entertainment.  If you are one of them, then have at it, but I’m here to tell you this atrocity is one of the very worst films I’ve seen in quite some time, even when I consider Adam Sandler’s last attempt at a summer film, “That’s My Boy”.  The title itself is an oxymoron, since the four main idiot characters in the film have hardly “grown up” in any sort of way.  Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade spend the entire film pondering their current states of adult hood, only to look back at their rowdy pasts that signal better times.  Dennis Dugan, a frequent Sandler collaborator, returns to the director’s chair and yet again rehashes the same lame jokes in what has become somewhat of a “brand” we call a Sandler film.

     Nothing in this second go around makes sense and there isn’t any kind of story or plot found anywhere in the film.  It’s as if each star takes turns every 60 seconds in a scene that features that star, remains pointless and then switches to another star.  No scene interconnects with the other and no scene furthers any other scene in the film. Dugan essentially strings together one sketch after another, normally featuring an SNL alum cameo, with none of them adding up to a cohesive narrative.  In one scene, we get a glimpse of Chris Rock’s character’s life in which we learn his wife has forgotten their anniversary.  There’s a sight gag involved and once the gag occurs, Dugan abruptly switches to Kevin James and so on.  Dugan and Sandler just can’t wait to get to the next supposed funny part they’ve concocted with the bi-product of this style killing any sort of comic timing.  Especially when the joke fails, which it often does.

     The paper thin story has Lenny (Sandler) moving his family back to his hometown in an effort to get away from the busy lifestyle of Los Angeles.  Like last year’s film “This Is 40”, Lenny and his family live in a sprawling mansion and live a life most would be envious of.  The rest of the characters live modest lives, including Kurt (Rock), who is a cable repairman, Eric (James), who owns an auto shop, and Marcus (Spade), who seems to go from job to job.  Along for the ride are all of the Sandler regulars including Nick Swardson and Peter Dante, who I’ve always wondered why they continue to get roles playing the same irritating characters over and over again in his films.  Do they have dirt on Sandler or does he feel obligated to take care of his boys every time he makes a movie.  Does he actually think they’re funny?

     Lenny and his buddies spend a lot of time revisiting places in town where they once partied and this leads them to a cliff that overlooks a lake they used to get drunk at.  There they find themselves surrounded by a lame, overly confident local college fraternity led by of all people, Taylor Lautner.  They dare Lenny and his friends to jump naked off the cliff or they will not be allowed to pass.  There’s really nothing funny about this scene, especially since it plays in it’s entirety in the film’s trailer, and like every other scene ends abruptly with no further development.  If you think these four guys belly flopping on top of each other is funny, then you’re in for a treat! If not, hopefully something else in the film will make you laugh.  Perhaps Eric’s young son, who is constantly praised in the film even though he is unable to answer simple math questions, will make you laugh when he quips “This is the best vanilla pudding I’ve ever had dad!”.  Eric’s response that he’s actually eating butter is likely supposed to get a rise out of the audience, but falls flat which seems to be a recurring theme throughout. 

     Of course, as was the case in the first film, the writers try to inject sentimental plot devices throughout such as a wife who wants another child, father/son relationships, and child bullying.  A much better film would’ve resulted if these issues were actually explored, but all we get is the mere mention of them in an effort to set up the next gross out gag.  With all of this alleged comic talent on board, the best these guys can come up with is a true display of bodily function called a “Burp Snart”.  As demonstrated by Eric and then later others in the cast, he first burps, which triggers a sneeze, and then a fart.  That’s right, the best these guys can come up with for your summer entertainment is a fart joke.  Does anything else really need to be said?  I’m speechless.  GRADE: F-