In a moment of weakness, I actually paid money to see Grown Ups 2, knowing full well what was in store for me. As the credits rolled, I walked straight out of my showing of Grown Ups and into the first half of Pacific Rim, just to get that metaphorical taste out of my mouth. With that vitriolic opening out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Adam Sandler’s latest charade.
Directed by the incorrigible Dennis Dugan, the man shackled by the neck to the Happy Madison production company and responsible for the vast majority of Sandler flicks within the last 10 years, Grown Ups 2 is frankly exactly what you’d expect. Written by Sandler himself, it’s full of the whiney man-child shtick that we’ve seen since 1995. Perhaps more discouraging, a surprising amount of the comedy relies on fart jokes. I wish I was making that up. A word of advice to comedy writers: when you start to incorporate fart jokes into your movies, it’s time to take a step back from the writing desk and reevaluate your life.
The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade as they come to terms with their own children becoming young adults. Grown Ups 2 is kind of a depressing movie, not because of its content, but because it strikes me as a last ditch effort of a group of washed up comedians to stay relevant. We’ve got Sandler, who’s spent his career trying to recapture his pre-1998 glory days; James, who’s popularity was in a downward spiral even at the height of King of Queens; Spade, who’s relevance dropped to nil after Chris Farley died; and Rock, who arguably has the most comedic talent of the group but seems determined not to put it to use. I will say, however, that the one bright spot was Taylor Lautner’s cameo appearance as Andy the frat boy. My guess is that’s he’s just glad to have a job after the whole Twilight Saga debacle and his enthusiasm translates to his on-screen performance.
I can’t think of a single person who thought that the extremely forgettable 2010 Grown Ups deserved a sequel. Not only that, but the story was decidedly wrapped up at the end of that film, and to expand upon it in a bland, directionless mass like this is a disservice to both the actors and the audience. I know there were some people (not me) who thought that This is the End was fantastic, and I can appreciate that, but frankly, I can’t even recommend this movie to those folks. The film is an uninspired mess that seems to exist only to capitalize on the lukewarm success of the original.
Apart from that, there’s simply not a lot to say about a movie like this. You had probably decided whether or not you wanted to see Grown Ups 2 when you saw the first trailer, and I’m here to validate those who opted not to: You didn’t miss anything. Adam Sandler’s career is slowly and steadily going down the drain, and it’s kind of a sad thing to watch. I suppose there’s nothing to do at this point except wait until the next dead-on-arrival Happy Madison flick and, with shame and embarrassment, quietly avert our gaze.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5