Okay, so you’ve got Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade all starring in the same movie. Aside from James, who’s just along for the ride, these are all Saturday Night Live veterans, all on the big-screen together for the first time ever, sort of like a little reunion. They were among the best of the best on the famous show during the early 90′s and they certainly had a huge impact on how the programme turned out. So this movie they’re all collaborating on should be fun, right? Well, sort of.
James is playing the clumsy fat guy, Schneider the freaky weirdo, Spade the playful, good-looking womanizer, Rock the black guy and Sandler playing…well, Adam Sandler. Not really stretching their acting legs here, I must say. Each of them are now in their mid-forties, y’know, they’re maybe going through a slight mid-life crisis as most men do, and this plays into the theme that Grown Ups comedically goes into.
Sandler’s production company Happy Madison produces his newest movie, which starts with our five protagonists as little kids playing and winning basketball at their local elementary school. Cut to thirty years later and they have all gone their separate ways, each now married and living happily with their families (other than lady’s man Spade). However, their old coach (Blake Clark) has just passed away from a heart attack, bringing the estranged friends back together at his funeral.
After the service, the families all go to the lake house owned by Larry (Sandler), intending to spend the 4th of July together and reminisce about their pastimes. They tease, they have a few laughs, they try to get the kids to appreciate the fun they can have in the outside world, there’s some competition with their old basketball rivals and they go to a water park at one point and get wet. It’s all fun.
As you can see, the plot isn’t very strong and it’s not really important once they get to the lake house. The whole film is just about these five guys hanging out, toying with each other in mischievous ways and trying to recapture their youths. Their banter fuels the movie and moves it along quite nicely, keeping you entertained enough. They’re very watchable characters, ones that you do sort of connect to due to their likability.
What holds the film back though is that the truly great jokes are few and far between. I did laugh out loud a fair number of times, but more genuinely funny gags would have vastly improved upon the film’s entertainment value. If you’ve seen any Adam Sandler movies before, you’ll know the sense of humour Grown Ups has, it’s based upon many visual jokes and constant wise cracking that will appeal to some and not to others. With me, it’s usually a hit and miss.
Also, there are some scenes which drag a little, affecting the film’s pacing. This was most evident when all five buddies are meeting each other for the first time in years outside the church. Every character is introduced to one another once again, jesting and jibing in a sequence which just goes on for too long, it becomes tedious. Furthermore, with the barely visible plot, the length, even at just over an hour and forty minutes does feel pretty long, the story isn’t strong enough to hold the film for its entire length.
The cast is all good enough, decently playing their roles and keeping my interest for the most part. The five leads are obviously naturals at comedy, they’ve been in the business for a long time and they know how to serve up the laughs. Salma Hayek plays Sandler’s wife (how the hell he bagged her, I dunno), Roxanne and although I had a few problems with her performance, she’s none too shabby. Know what am sayin’?
Most of the rest of the cast isn’t too memorable, other than Shneider’s wife Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), who is thirty years older than her husband. Many gags revolve around their relationship and their age difference, ’tis a little funny.
There’s not really much else to say, it’s a forgettable fluffy comedy, but for what it is it’s good for a night out. I’d recommend this for those who are fans of SNL or simply familiar with the main stars’ other roles and have liked what they’ve seen. Outside of that range, I can’t really see anyone fully enjoying this as much as others would, it’s all about Sandler, James, Rock, Schneider and Spade. And fat jokes.
Six outta ten.