No stranger to working with Adam Sandler (Funny People), Dennis Dugan directs this ensemble comedy about five friends who reconnect after the death of their basketball coach. Dennis Dugan’s directing is nothing special, nor does it really make itself prominent. This film is more about five comedians being comedians.
Joining Adam Sandler are Kevin James (The King of Queens), Chris Rock (Everybody Hates Chris), David Spade (The Benchwarmers), and Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow). Each one of these characters is joined by a supporting female character, whether it is a wife, girlfriend, or attractive daughters. Adam Sandler plays Lenny, whose wife is Roxanne, played by Selma Hayek (Bandidas). What is unfortunate is that the female characters do not really factor into the plot in a meaningful way. They affect some minor things, but really they are just there as a vehicle for the comedians, which takes away from the depth of this film.
The opening of the film is almost painfully cheesy. Thinking back on the film, the only thing I remember about the plot is that their old elementary school coach died, they all attend the funeral, after having been separated for years, and then spend the weekend at the old cabin they used to spend time at as kids. There are some minor relationship/family issues thrown in that need to be resolved, but they are incredibly minor and are treated very lightly. Grown Ups contains several good jokes, a lot more decent jokes, and a few bad jokes. The main problem with the humor is that all the characters laugh after every joke. They laugh for 10-20 seconds each time somebody tells a joke. The choice to show the characters’ laughter only distracts from the plot and messes up the pacing of the film.
All the actors turn in a decent performance, but the lack of a substantial plot, or a well-defined antagonist, makes Grown Ups a decent distraction, but prevents it from being something absolutely hilarious.
© Nate Phillipps 2010