From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grown Ups - D -

Rated PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity, 102 minutes

Offensive, sloppy, immature "Grown Ups"

Imagine you got together a few friends you used to work with, played around in front of a camera, cracked some jokes and pretended to have gorgeous wives. That's essentially what Adam Sandler has done, except on a slightly larger scale, with his pitifully, excruciatingly unfunny and sloppy new lowbrow comedy "Grown Ups." You'd think that with his buddies Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and David Spade, all on the big screen together for the first time- you'd think - there would be some better (and smarter) material, but the movie falls flat and takes a crash landing in the first few frames.

Sandler and his pals, James, Rock, Schneider and Spade were all childhood pals in New England who somehow played on a championship basketball team. They reunite 30 years later when their coach dies and they spend the weekend together in the same lakehouse they celebrated their championship in, along with their wives, including Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Joyce Van Patten and Maria Bello and children in tow. They realize how different they are but also realize the meaning of true friendship.

I went in to "Grown Ups" with low expectations anyway, but at least expected a few more laughs than normal, given the comedic talent involved. But I was sorely disappointed painfully sitting through the incessantly dumb, immature jokes so redundantly piled on, but then should I really be surprised? What is surprising is that Sandler actually gets credit for writing a script for this mess, and only he would write himself as a successful Hollywood agent with the gorgeous wife.

Dennis Dugan, who's worked with these guys before on such dreck as "The Benchwarmers," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," makes no effort at creating real characters or stories and just lets the cast just mess around on camera. If you’ve seen any of those earlier films, you know what’s in store in "Grown Ups ," and it’s more cringe-worthy than laugh-worthy.

Sure, all of the guys at some point get in a brief zinger here and there, especially Rock and Spade, but this is really just a waste of celluloid with some brief episodes slung together and some unfunny, offensive jokes thrown in. The dog who's vocal cords are shut; making fun of overweight children; James dancing around with a KFC bucket on his head; or anytime that Schneider is onscreen making out with his older wife, Joyce Van Patten (she's Dugan's ex-wife but cinemaphiles will recognize her - in much younger form – from the original "The Bad News Bears"), which is as yucky as you’ve seen in the film’s trailers. It also trots out former "Saturday Night Live" vets Colin Quinn (along with Schneider among the most annoying comedians ever), Tim Meadows and Norm Macdonald, as if that would help any, and utterly wastes a decent actor like Steve Buscemi.

Given that most of the viewers of "Grown Ups" will likely be male, at least Sandler is smart enough to have the pretty Hayek, Bello and Rudolph as eye candy in between all the gross-out jokes, but the sexist material only treats them as objects and little else, given they come out at the end in the pointless climax, a basketball rematch with their old foes, dressed in skimpy cheerleader costumes.

While all of this is seemingly typical Sandler fluff, I give him a little credit. Year after year, he churns out critic-proof films the masses turn out to see and he somehow turns a profit on them, and "Grown Ups" will likely join that list of films. I could certainly make statements like: “'Grown Ups' is one of the worst comedies of the year” and “a disappointment for even Sandler fans” (both are true) but that doesn’t matter, his fans will still turn out. Go if you must but you’ve been warned.