Do you enjoy making fun of fat people, ugly people, and gay people? Do you find vomiting and flatulence entertaining? Do you like watching “comedic” physical injuries along the lines of The Three Stooges but much MUCH worse? Then have I got a movie for you!
Okay, to give you a sense of perspective, until a few weeks ago I had never seen a movie starring Adam Sandler. This was not by accident; I had been studiously avoiding them for years. But then I decided to conduct a Razzie Project this year, and the films I was dreading the most were Grown Ups 2 and A Madea Christmas. Well, since the universe decided to show me a certain amount of mercy — A Madea Christmas isn’t out on DVD yet — I saw that as a sign that I should finally bite the Adam Sandler bullet. So a few weeks ago I watched Grown Ups, and last night I watched Grown Ups 2.
Dear Readers, I’m telling you right now, if (God forbid) there ever is a Grown Ups 3, I absolutely REFUSE to see it. Because sitting through two films with these annoying characters was more than enough for one lifetime.
To summarize, Grown Ups is a film about a bunch of middle-aged men who have been friends since childhood bonding with each other (along with their respective families). Parts of it are fine, parts of it are stupid, but NONE of it screams “sequel.” And yet a sequel was made, unfortunately for all of us.
When Grown Ups 2 begins, Lenny Feder and his wife Roxanne (Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek) have moved from LA back to his old hometown. He wakes up to find a huge deer standing in their bedroom because (as it turns out) his daughter left the front door open. He tries to wake his wife quietly, she wakes up and starts screaming, then the deer rears up in alarm and starts urinating on everything. Lenny is yelling, which means that some of the deer urine is getting in his mouth (because the scene wasn’t hilarious enough already).
We’re less than five minutes into this movie, folks.
Then the deer runs down the hallway, startling Lenny’s son who is (presumably) masturbating in the shower. It then urinates on his son, as well.
Again, less than five minutes in.
Once they manage to get the deer out of the house, the story expands to include the lives of Lenny’s friends and acquaintances in the town, as played by fellow comedic actors like Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Colin Quinn, and Tim Meadows. Yes, there are women in this universe, too, but they are always satellite characters orbiting the men in their lives. The few times the camera lingers on women for more than a minute or two it’s because they’re doing something sexy, because they’re listening to their husbands, or because they’re bonding over a hot guy (who is, of course, gay and thus not a threat to any of their marriages).
The loose plot of this film is that a bunch of middle-aged guys are feeling middle-aged. They do things that make them feel young again (ogling younger women, jumping off a high rock into a lake, getting into fights with younger men). Meanwhile, their wives / girlfriends / children get to do stuff once in a while. There are comedic turns by people like Shaquille O’Neal (in a role that won’t surprise you) and Georgia Engel (Okay, I’m not happy she’s in THIS nonsense, but I am glad she’s getting work).
In the midst of this plot, a lot of physical stuff happens. Whether you view these events as physical comedy or physical cruelty might depend on if you’re a man or a woman, or if you’re Adam Sandler or … anyone else on the planet.
Okay, let me give you a sense of perspective. My boyfriend came home while I was watching the end of this movie, so he saw about the last 20 minutes of it. You should know that he DOES tend to laugh out loud at the kind of humor that usually falls on the male side of the male/female divide. He’ll laugh at the Three Stooges poking and slapping each other or people on Jackass crashing into things in shopping carts … while I will usually roll my eyes or find something better to do in another room. But while the end of this movie was on, I watched it silently shaking my head and HE watched it silently shaking his head … or occasionally looking at me and then laughing at the pained expression on my face.
In this film, people fall down, get hit, get beaten up, remove too much clothing, throw up, get urinated on by deer, get attacked by deer, appear to be having a bowel movement which is actually chocolate ice cream, inadverdently make out with a dog (because that’s what happens when you go to kiss someone with your eyes closed), etc. etc. etc.
Dear Readers, this was a long and painful film, and it just became more painful as it went along. In my last several posts, I’ve tried to find some redeeming features in the Razzie-nominated films I’ve been reviewing, but this time it’s a lot tougher to find that silver lining …
Okay, let’s try this. I love Colin Quinn, so I’m happy that he got a paycheck. Ditto for Georgia Engel, Jon Lovitz, Steve Austin, Cheri Oteri, and Steve Buscemi. And while it wasn’t a GOOD movie, it wasn’t nearly as painful to watch as Movie 43. Does that count as a redeeming feature?