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Movie Review: Grown Ups

June 25, 2010
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Grown Ups is anything but. You won’t find a shred of maturity here, but you will find the following in abundance: fart jokes, bunion jokes, breast-feeding jokes, Salma Hayek’s amazing rack (clothed, but still), physical pratfalls, teen aged girls in short-shorts, and five grown men acting like complete idiots. The laughs are cheap, but they are there for the taking.

I laughed at a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have, but I also laughed at Joe Dirt, if that is telling.  This is the same type of movie, and there is obviously a segment of the population who will seek it out this weekend.  This panders to the lowest common denominator of comedy appeal.  I think the filmmakers knew exactly what type of movie they wanted to make, and mission accomplished.  If you howl with laughter anytime a character farts in a movie, you are in for a real treat.

Five childhood friends who played on the same basketball team when they were younger are brought back together for their coach’s funeral. Adam Sandler is the successful one, with a hot headed trophy wife (Salma Hayek) and spoiled brat kids. Kevin James is the rotund family man married to Mario Bello, who still breast-feeds their four year old (hilarious!)  Chris Rock is an emasculated stay at home dad with a nagging mother-in-law and ungrateful wife (Maya Rudolph.) Rob Schneider is a new-age vegan married to a woman old enough to be his grandmother, and David Spade still fancies himself a ladies man (really?)

Over a weekend spent at a cabin on a lake, the old friends reminisce about old times, ogle Schneider’s ridiculously hot teen-aged girls, and engage in general jack-assery.  There is not really much of a plot, you simply observe their weekend antics.  On a positive note, the movie has a sweet and well-intended message about spending time with family, and putting away the computers, cell phones and other distractions in order to do so.

There is no doubt that the movie is funny.  When Rob Schneider’s toupee attempts to take flight, it’s funny. I laughed, and I am embarrassed I laughed.  A toupee flying off of some one’s head is not creative, it’s lazy. Several jokes, in particular grandma’s farting and the four year old breast feeding are drudged up multiple times, apparently because the filmmakers thought these would deliver sure fire laughs, and they probably will.

Director Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy, I Know Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) doesn’t go much outside his comfort zone here.  It’s all familiar territory.

There is a staggering amount of talent on screen, but it is thoroughly underutilized.  It’s disappointing that with all that talent the movie resorts to low-brow jokes that anyone could deliver.  I have no idea how these kind of movies get all the actors to sign on. They even managed to squeeze Steve Buscemi into the mix.  My guess is that many of them have children of their own, and want to make something that is family friendly.

Grown Ups mostly plays as a family film, though I wouldn’t take my kids. There is no nudity, aside from a mercifully short glimpse of David Spade’s horrifying back-side, and I don’t recall really offensive language.  It’s all fairly innocuous.

I’m not one to get all up in arms over the existence of this movie, it has its place. I could trash it, but that would be too easy.  The truth is that this will fit the bill for a lot of people looking for a mindless movie to enjoy this weekend.  Just don’t make me sit through it again, I can’t afford to lose the brain cells.

Rating 2/5

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