“Grown Ups” Movie Review

     Potty mouthed humor and some hilarious sight gags highlight Grown Ups, the latest starring vehicle for Adam Sandler and a host of other comedy stars you may have heard of.  A grade school basketball team celebrates there first and only championship at a lake house in the late 70's after narrowly defeating their rivals.  Apparently, this was quite significant in their lives because 30 years later, when news comes of their coach passing away, they reunite at the same lake house in his honor.  Along with Sandler, the team is rounded out by Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Rob Schieder.

     At this point in their lives, each has gone a different route and have enjoyed different levels of success.  As they all converge to the lake house after the coaches funeral, they seem to pick up right where they left off as kids and you could argue, perhaps, they still are kids.  They have no problem making relentless fun of one another and this works well in the film since it gives each character funny things to say.  As is always a problem with this type of picture, many of the funny parts are in the trailer, so a few of the scenes are already spoiled.  There are; however, many other funny scenes throughout and I found myself laughing several times.

     There are many supporting players in the film and each has their moments.  Chris Rock's mother in law is hysterical and has several running jokes throughout the film.  Kevin James' wife is also hilarious with her breastfeeding debacle.  You'll see many Sandler and SNL regulars appearing in smaller roles but the one that left an impression on me more than anyone was Steve Buscemi.  He shows up near the final act and steals every scene he's in.

     I think critics who bash this film will cite the lack of a cohesive story and that the script just ties together each comedy sequence as if we are watching an SNL show.  In saying that, they would probably be correct, but I found myself ten times more satisfied with this Sandler offering than either of his previous two (Funny People and Zohan).  While some of the talent may have seemed underused (James and Rock specifically), each actor has an important role in the film.  Even the children of each respective family contributes to the laughs.  Sandler is the same persona we've seen in his better films like Big Daddy, Mr Deeds, and 50 First Dates.  Schneider looks like he is having a ball and clearly returns to his Deuce Bigalo goofiness.  Even David Spade makes an impact with timely jokes at the expense of his buddies, mostly Schneider!

     The film stresses how important child hood is and I suppose that's the moral of the story.  These guys haven't really grown up. They may have matured where necessary and become responsible when they have to, but they will always be a kids at heart. As an ensemble comedy, I liked this film a bit more than most in its genre. Like many films this summer, you walk out thinking it was time well spent when it's 115 degrees outside. GRADE: C+