Grown Ups tells the story of five friends who were inseparable growing up, but have drifted apart over the years. Unfortunately, it feels more like an SNL cast member reunion show than a solid film, and lacks any serious focus.
The film opens with a flashback of a championship grade school basketball game. The team is comprised of 5 best friends: Lenny (Adam Sandler), Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock), Marcus (David Spade), and Rob (Rob Schneider). They go on to win the game, after which their coach (Blake Clark) gives them a speech about being champions in life.
30 years after the championship game, each of the five friends has grown up and grown apart. Lenny (Sandler) is a rich and successful Hollywood agent with two spoiled kids and a fashion designer Selma Hayek) for a wife. Eric (James) is a business man with a family of his own. Kurt (Rock) is a stay at home dad who cooks and cleans, while his wife (Maya Rudolph) brings home the bacon. Marcus (Spade) is a ladies man who parties and has no real responsibilities. And Rob (Schneider) is a holistic massage therapist who lives with his 4th wife. One day, each of the friends receives a phone call that the coach has passed away. They are all reunited at the funeral, and go to the old lake house where they grew up to celebrate 4th of July weekend.
The movie is hit or miss when it comes to humor. There were many funny parts throughout, but there were just as many cheap one liners and bad jokes that simply fail. The biggest problem is that the story really has no conflict, and seems rather pointless. Think of it as “Death at a Funeral” without anything crazy going on. It is basically a get together with a bunch of old friends who like to have a fun time. The writing makes it seem like Sandler and his buddies decided that they could all just get together and roll cameras, and the result would be an ingenious comedy. But it feels like it was much more fun to film than it was to watch. For example, when all of the characters are reunited at the coach’s funeral, they showed up one by one in a ridiculous way that seemed to drag on forever. Just another way to extend the run time.
In the end, Grown Ups feels like a bunch of extended SNL skits that were thrown together to make a movie. There were several isolated scenes that just felt unnecessary, and even though there were good jokes mixed throughout, they seldom moved the story along or created much interest in what was going on.
Grown Ups is a C-
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