Film Review: "Grown Ups"

(Columbia Pictures. 1 hour, 42 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity. Directed by Dennis Dugan.) Adam Sandler (Lenny Feder), Kevin James (Eric Lamonsoff), Chris Rock (Kurt McKenzie), David Spade (Marcus Higgins), Rob Schneider (Rob Hilliard), Salma Hayek Pinault (Roxanne Chase-Feder), Maria Bello (Sally Lamonsoff), Maya Rudolph (Deanne McKenzie). Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams.
After the death of their junior high basketball coach, five friends (Sandler, James, Rock, Spade and Schneider) and their families reunite at a lakehouse to honor the coach's memory. While there, the quintet also visits a water park and is challenged to a rematch by their junior high rivals. A lazy, meandering comedy.

In its favor, Grown Ups feels like an actual reunion of old friends, but watching a group of people make fun of each other can only be interesting for so long. There's the occasional one-liner or gag that works well, but much of the rest is either gross, stupid or both. Unfortunately, if a gag works once, expect to see it several times more (which should come as no surprise given Sandler's usual movies). The plot is very loose and limited; the movie grinds to a halt whenever it rears its head, like during the obligatory "lesson" moments. Also, with a cast as large as this, many of the actors are terribly underutilized, relegating some very talented people to sorely-diminished roles. James spends most of his time in the "fat man fall down, go boom" role, Maria Bello is basically an overlong breast-feeding joke and Maya Rudolph only gets to complain and be pregnant. The net product is a movie that feels unfocused and a bit too long. It has a few decent laughs scattered throughout, but I can't recommend anything more than a rental.
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Jared Counts

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Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...