Adam Sandler's films have evolved over the years, starting out a little hokey (remember "Airheads"? Yeesh...) turning into borderline brilliant silliness and hilarity (I love love love "Happy Gilmore" and "The Waterboy", and know a inordinate amount of people who worship "Billy Madison"), before trying to get into more adult fare with little success--"Eight Crazy Nights", "Punch Drunk Love", "Spanglish" and "Funny People" were anywhere from mediocre to downright bad.
However, Sandler can still be funny. And when you throw in the likes of David Spade (who, let's face it, hasn't had a truly funny movie since the Farley days), Chris Rock (hasn't truly been funny in a real movie since "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"), Rob Schneider (aside from the random funny cameos in most Sandler movies, he was last seen being funny in... in... well, The Lovely Steph Leann liked 'The Hot Chick"--a movie that I dug not for Schneider, but for Anna Faris and Rachel McAdams) and Kevin James (who was truly charming in "Paul Blart", was the funniest part of "Chuck & Larry" and truly held his own with Will Smith in "Hitch"), you have got the potential to have a pretty funny movie. And for the most part, "Grown Ups" delivers what you would expect.
Its a movie that features a group of guys who were friends back in the day, all playing on a middle school (back then it was "junior high") basketball team that won the championship... they grow up and lose touch, but are all called back together when their coach passes away. They end up spending the 4th of July long weekend together, with Sandler playing Lenny, a successful Hollywood agent, married to Roxanne (Salma Hayek) with three completely spoiled brat kids. Kevin James is Eric, married to Sally (an incredibly good looking Maria Bello) with a couple of problem kids of their own, including a 48 month old son who still likes to nurse... from mom. Yes, that's 4 years old.
Rob Schneider is Rob, and marries a woman 30 years his elder, which makes for a running gag that eventually gets tiresome, while David Spade is Marcus, a player who never got married and still chases women. Finally, Chris Rock is
What follows in the course of the hour and forty five is a series of vignette-like scenes that carry the group through the weekend as they catch up, learn about family and friendship and say lots of innuendos and poopy farty jokes along the way. You know, its five guys. They do run into the grown up versions of the kids they beat on the championship team back in the day, allowing for fellow SNL alums Colin Quinn and Tim Meadows to make appearances, as well as Steve Buscemi, who looks like he's playing his squirrely bug-eyed look to the hilt.
Some jokes are funny, some fall flat, but you just have to be into this kind of a buddy-reunion movie to enjoy a film like this. Having lived with three other guys who paid rent and like, seven other guys that didn't, all at the same time, I could relate to this film in terms of how people change, the direction that life takes for some... though I cannot fathom being that close to your homeboys, and then having no contact with them for 30 years. That's just... well, maybe I'm being idealistic, but that's almost unreasonable.
I almost feel like this could be Shawn, Big Tom, Mikey, myself and Tommy Mac in a few years. Or Wookiee. Or Drewski. Or, if you are thinking Chris Rock, it could be The Hall--though I would think if we reunited for a coach's death, it would be for The Hall's funeral. Then again, I don't fish... Just sayin'.
The language is fair, not too bad, and with the exception of Maria Bello's booby coming out for a nursing scene (without showing anything, by the way) there's nothing really bad in this film.
Don't expect to see "Billy Madison" all over again... if you can wait until the Ghetto Theater for a Buck, do so. If you just have to see it now, take a matinee, otherwise catch it on a rental in probably September or October.
By the way... the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic... REO Speedwagon... J Geils... Journey (something other than "Don't Stop Believin'", for once)... Jefferson Starship... The Kinks... Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise", one of my 100 favorite songs of all time... and Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady", which Chris Rock's character declares to be, somewhat correctly, "the whitest song in history"... oh, and one more song that's in the movie, but not on the soundtrack...
That's Bob Seger's "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". Bob Seger, what the crap, yo? First, let's be honest, you rock. "Shakedown" from "Beverly Hills Cop II", rocks. "Hollywood Nights" rocks. "Still the Same", "Turn the Page", "We Got Tonight"... they all rock. And so does this awesome song called "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". And you can't find it on iTunes.
If you are Garth Brooks or The Beatles, who have catalogs that are both infamous for not being available, then I can understand. Why sell on iTunes, you got a bajillion dollars anyway. But Bob Seger? Seriously, dude. Open up that catalog. I don't want "Greatest Hits Volume 2", I want that one song.