Now Playing Review

Grown Ups 2 too lame to recommend

lars logoNOPE – I’ll admit that Adam Sandler has long been a guilty pleasure of mine.

Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, and The Waterboy were in steady rotation in our tv room when my boys were younger. We affectionately called them “stupid comedies,” and they never ceased to crack us up.

Then Sandler seemed to turn a corner, right after Paul Thomas Anderson cast him in his offbeat anxiety-fueled romantic comedy, Punch-Drunk Lovefollowed up by sweet and sensible films like Spanglish, Funny People, Click50 First Dates, and the first Grown Ups.

Somehow, surprisingly, Sandler seemed to have stumbled in to this really effective comfort zone as an actor with obviously limited range. The unspectacular every-man dealing with mid-life crisis issues with a comedic touch and a big heart.

grown ups 2Now I guess we’re back to square one…or ground zero.

However, Grown Ups 2 doesn’t even qualify as a “stupid comedy.” This brick is wall-to-wall not funny – and wall-to-wall uninspired and downright lazy. All of the wholesome, family friendly, sweet, and even smart elements from the original Grown Ups are gone.

Too bad.

You know a film’s in trouble when Shaquille O’Neal gives the picture’s best performance.

I wish I was kidding.

So many questions here.

How is it Chris Rock and Salma Hayek, both veterans now at this point in their respective careers, can be so awful and uncharismatic on camera?

Why does Steve Buscemi look like he’s 95 years old?

Was it necessary for Kevin James, who actually looked pretty solid in Here Comes the Boom, to put on 100 lbs. for this sequel?

How can someone as funny as David Spade be given absolutely nothing funny to say or do in a full-length comedy?

Who told sports radio host and former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick it was a good idea to get in to “acting?” Very bad idea, in fact.

Why do most child actors stop being cute after the first time you see them?

I get that Sandler insists on using his goofy gang of pals in all of his pictures, but is it mandatory that they get increasingly worse and more obnoxious? You would think just one of them by now would have become at minimum capable. Nope.

How can so many seemingly bright people sign up for such a feeble project with little to no story? Get this, one of the opening scenes shows the moms (Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello) in a yoga class. The sloppy janitor (Jon Lovitz) comes in and tells the women their instructor will be late; then proceeds to work the vapid gals through a series of sexually compromising warm ups so that he can ogle their bouncing boobs. Not funny at best – gratuitously moronic and insulting at worst.  And when did these moms become vapid? They weren’t in the first film. How is it not one of these actresses looked at the script and cried out “Not happening!”

The film’s climactic scene is a Gangs of New York style brawl at Sandler’s house party between the aging stars and the local fraternity chapter, led by Twilight’s flimsy star, Taylor Lautner. Again, you know your film’s in trouble when Taylor Lautner’s performance is the only one grounded in any emotional reality. There’s a showdown between Sandler and the WWF’s aging mutton head Stone Cold Steve Austin that is so poorly conceived that it is beyond description.

Ok, so it doesn’t help here that since I suffered through Grown Ups 2, I’ve watched Annie Hall and Wedding Crashers, two comedies that were well-written, inspired, and actually had something to say.

Grown Ups 2 has literally nothing to say, unless you count the little voice inside your head that repeatedly warned you to stay away from this bust. Why didn’t I listen?????

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