As I stood in front of a movie theater on the weekend of June 25, 2010, I had to make a decision based on nostalgia. Toy Story 3 or Grown Ups? Do I watch a sequel to a film about toys coming to life or do I watch half the cast of early 90s Saturday Night Live roster (well, the ones who are alive anyway) reunite? I loved Toy Story as a child, but after being disappointed with the last sequel, another one felt unnecessary to me.Â As for Grown Ups, yea it looked silly, but these were the guys I grew up watching and admiring. These are folks that helped shape my snarky yet juvenile humor, and I owe it to myself to see the â€œold gangâ€ reunite, right?
Well, I chose to watch Toy Story 3 that night, and it ended up being my favorite iteration of the series. After having watched Grown Ups, I am not only assured that I made the right decision that night, but I am also offended at how unfunny the movie is.
The plot (if you can call it that) of Grown Ups follows five childhood friends reuniting in the wake of the death of their beloved junior high basketball coach. They spend the 4th of July weekend catching up, reminiscing, fixing marital issues and showing their spoiled children a good old fashioned time in nature. Their hi-jinks carry over to a visit to a water park for about 10 minutes and in the end they play a basketball game. That’s it (I probably should have said “spoiler alert” but meh).
Now, I realize that most of these guys are past their prime and are all guilty of putting out some awful movies, but the idea of a film with all of them together promises at least some kind of charm and a bit of the old chemistry. Instead, we get a poorly constructed film plagued by horrendous writing. There’s no real sense of character in this film as each actor plays some kind of caricature, making the relationships between these archetypes that much more shallow.
But really, who cares about character and plot with this type of movie, when the most important thing is whether or not it delivers laugh. The answer: not so much as a smirk. The humor in this film is so easy, with much of material afraid to go into the blue. Most of the jokes result in bad gags based on juvenile humor, making the laughs all too simple. Interactions between Sandler and gang feels contrived and tame, as the actors somehow find a way to turn a film about old friendships and make it seem so insincere.
After Sandler’s performance in Funny People, I had hoped that he would take on smarter roles that had a bit more depth to them. Instead he’s reverted back to drivel like this, and with both Just Let It Happen and Jack and Jill on the way it only seems to be getting worse. The fact that Grown Ups did so well and even passes for comedy makes me sad. The only thing this movie did for me is make me want to go on a camping trip with my own friends. Other than that, no redeeming quality whatsoever.
Grown Ups is a sad film that will only make you realize that things just aren’t the same anymore. SNL has changed and so have we, yet Sandler and gang managed to put out a new movie that seems dated even for the 90s when everyone was on top of their game. Everyone in this movie have been in both good and bad movies, yet somehow taking these greats of yesteryear and putting them in the same film results in the worst movie these actors have ever been in (and they ALL have been in some stinkers). This film is absolutely toxic and if you have any kind of respect for yourself, you won’t see this movie.