The original Grown Ups is easily one of the worst movies made in the past decade. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t interesting. It wasn’t “so bad, it’s good.” It was simply awful. Yet, it did really well at the box office because movie audiences ate it up. Maybe I’m out of touch with “the kids” or something, but that film was terrible, and if there was ever a movie that should be not only forgotten, but burned from humanity’s collective consciousness, it is Grown Ups.
Instead it got a sequel. If for some reason you enjoyed the first movie (lobotomy?), don’t continue reading because I don’t understand you, and you won’t understand me. You’re going to like this one, too, because it’s the same horrible humor, but this time without a plot. That means less thinking and more jokes about poop.
Grown Ups 2
Director: Dennis Dugan
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Look, a good poop joke can really work. Bridesmaids rocked it. The key word, however, is good. Poop jokes that think they’re funny simply because poop is involved are not funny. That is the kind of humor that runs rampant in Grown Ups 2. All you have to do is replace poop with other pre-teen humor subjects like butts, boobs, or puke, and you’ve got a solid 70% of the jokes in the film pegged. None of them work.
At least this time around, Adam Sandler had the grace to not even pretend like the film is anything more than him and his friends acting like idiots. All the characters you don’t remember from the original (excluding Rob Schneider) are back with Lenny Feder (Sandler) having returned to his hometown with his wife Roxanne Chase-Feder (Salma Hayek) and kids. None of the guys seem to actually work, so we hang out with them being idiots all day. This turns the film into what really amounts to a series of sketches that are loosely tied together by some sort of theme about getting older… or something. It’s really just an excuse to make poop jokes.
The lack of plot, character development, or really anything that a sane person would call a cohesive story is actually a boon for the film. Thanks to it not trying to tell a story, there’s way more time for it to attempt to be funny, and if you take enough swings at something, you’re bound to hit every once in a while. Grown Ups 2, unlike its predecessor, does actually have some laughs in it. There’re a few slapstick scenes that actually work and remind you of Sandler’s early days where his humor was sophomoric, but didn’t feel so desperate. Taylor Lautner actually has a stellar cameo as a hyperbolic frat boy, and every once in a while a line is actually clever and humorous instead of crass and offensive.
Let us not get the wrong impression. Grown Ups 2 is not a funny movie. Most of the film will cause more head shaking than giggles. It may, however, be important to mention that many in the audience I saw the film with were laughing hysterically. These people are theoretically the same people who enjoyed the first movie, and I have no basis of understanding for how or why they found the movie truly funny. Many of the jokes are misogynistic to the point of offensiveness, and if they aren’t, then they’re so contrived that all the humor gets taken out of them. Then there’s the “signature” insult flinging that seemed to tickle people in the last movie. Mostly it’s just mean and humorless, and the cast delivers the insults with the timing of the Hill Valley town clock before it’s struck by lightning.
At some point, Adam Sandler and his cohorts lost the charm that made the likes of Happy Gilmore work. In their youth, the comedy was fresh; in their age, it seems stale and sad. It’s almost funny that Sandler’s films about being older are his most immature, as if in an attempt to make a movie about recapturing youth, he’s showing us exactly why you shouldn’t. Maybe that was intentional, and it’s all a big meta joke on the audience. Maybe he’s actually way smarter than we give him credit for.
No, wait. One of Grown Ups 2‘s running gags is about farting, burping, and sneezing at the same time. Definitely just dumb.