Look! I Can Pee! On Command!
Congratulations, Adam Sandler! After a decade or so of trying in earnest, you’ve finally achieved what must be your ultimate goal: to make a completely unwatchable movie. The problems in the past — and the reasons that your movies have been mostly unwatchable instead of completely unwatchable — have finally been eradicated. Turns out that before you were trying too hard. In Grown Ups, you’ve finally figured out the formula: Don’t try at all! It’s brilliant! All that effort is what’s been holding you back all these years. As it turns out, laziness really is the best way accomplish the lifelong pursuit that has eluded you until now.
Hey! If you’re not going to try, why not bring along a friend or two. Or hell. All of them. Then you can sit around and shoot the shit with your buddies while the cameras are rolling. A week later, hire an editor to cut any of those unfortunate moments where you might have inadvertently said something amusing or worthwhile or at all entertaining, and you’ve got yourself a a goddamn unwatchable film. Great job!
I should also commend you on your ability to get you and a buddy, Fred Wolf (Dirty Work, Without a Paddle) actual credit for the script, which is funny because there obviously is no script. There is no plot in Grown Ups. There’s no story at all. In fact, there’s no comedy. But there is a message, and it is this: Play outside more often, which is the perfect message to deliver in a medium that’s meant to be viewed in a dark theater as far away from the sunlight as possible. And no: The inadvertent irony of that doesn’t make the movie any more watchable.
In Grown Ups, five old friends reunite after the funeral of their old junior high basketball coach 30 years after winning a basketball championship and decide to spend a week in a cabin. There are exactly ten jokes in Grown Up, and all ten of them are the characters themselves: Kevin James is fat (ha!); Chris Rock is the token black guy and a house husband who can’t cook (ha!); Rob Schneider is a new age-y, melodramatic schmuck who’s married to an elderly lady (ha!); David Spade is drunk and single and likes to ogle the daughters of Rob Schneider’s character (ha!); Maria Bello plays Kevin James’ wife — her joke is that she still breastfeeds her four-year-old son, as well as wounded birds (ha!); Maya Rudolph plays Chris Rock’s pregnant wife — get it! She’s pregnant (ha!); Joyce Van Patten plays Rob Schneider’s wife — she’s old (ha!); and Ebony Jo-Ann plays Maya Rudolph’s overweight mother — she has disgusting corns on her toes and she farts (but blames it on the dog) (ha!). Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek don’t actually have jokes built around their characters (that would smack of effort, and effort might blemish an otherwise completely unwatchable movie), but their children are spoiled rich kids who text the nanny to ask for hot chocolate and ask for fancy bottled water at local diners (ha!); and, finally, Di Quon plays the nanny. She’s Asian (ha!).
That’s it. That’s the movie. There’s nothing else to it, really. Those characters simply bounce around to different venues — a water park, a pick-up basketball game; a wooded area; the front porch; the yard in front of the front porch; the lake in front of the yard; and a hayride. There is no conflict; there is no narrative arc because there is no narrative; and there is no character development because there are no real characters — just actors playing punchlines to really bad jokes. The only acting involved in the entire film appears to be the ability to pee. On command. That’s actressin’!
In addition to being completely unwatchable, I will also grant Grown Ups this: The cast looks like they’re having a great time. And that’s exactly what I want to pay $10 to see: A group of people being paid millions of dollars to enjoy themselves at our expense.
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