by M. Faust
The original Ocean’s Eleven may have been made because Frank Sinatra wanted a project he could work on with his Rat Pack buddies. But at least they bothered to get a script to work from and a director to hold the project together. When Adam Sandler wanted to spend a few weeks with his buddies from Saturday Night Live, which is all that Grown Ups is, he and co-writer Fred Wolf (Joe Dirt) can’t have spent any more than one afternoon stitching together the pastiche of clichés that represents a screenplay here. The idea was presumably that a gathering of Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Kevin James in the Chris Farley slot would spontaneously generate so much comic gold that house director Denis Dugan would merely have to record it. At least you have to assume that’s how it worked: It’s hard to believe that anyone would have bothered to write down the lame digs these clowns are endlessly directing at each other. (Calling Spade “the third Olson twin” was about the best of them.) For the record, the premise is that they were members of a junior high basketball team 30 years ago who have reunited with their families for a long summer weekend at a “New England” lake house. Characterizations range from thin (Schneider’s New Age dweeb married to an older woman) to non-existent (you tend to forget that Rock is even in the movie, for which he will surely be grateful). The laziness extends to the technical aspects of a film filled with mismatched shots, something you seldom see in Hollywood productions anymore. With a score that uses a hyperventilating French horn to cue you to the “emotional” moments and an endless supply of 1970s songs that should have been let in the closet, Grown Ups moves from being merely dull to actively offensive for its smug assumption that fans require so little for their ticket dollars.
Watch the trailer for Grown Ups
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