Thursday, 23 September 2010
HEY KIDS! You like Adam Sandler, right? You know, that one guy who makes those movies where he plays a retard man-child who yells all the time? No, not Will Ferrell, the other one. You know?
What, you don't like him? Well, never mind, what about Kevin James? You know, that fat guy from that sitcom where he had the unfeasibly hot wife? He got slapped in the face by Will Smith in that film? Y'know?
Okay, so you don't like him either... What about Rob Schneider? You remember him from those films where he's a prostitute or something? And those other ones where he turns into stuff, like a hot chick or an animal? I think those were called "Ladyman" and "Dogboy" or something. Yeah.
Him neither? Erm... well how about Chris Rock? He's funny, right? World renowned stand-up, and well-respected comedic actor due to his turns in... erm... that one "Lethal Weapon" film... and other stuff.
What, he's funny on stage, but not on screen? Oh. Well. Well, we also have David Spade. He's the thin one who was in all those Chris Farley movies. Yeah, the less funny one. He had John Ritter killed so he could steal a sitcom off him or something. Well that's what I heard.
What, you don't like any of those people? Well shit. That's all we've got.
If you think I'm being unfair to any or all of the people mentioned above, then there's a good chance you'll be able to glean some amusement from "Grown Ups". If all that stuff seemed to speak directly to you, you'll probably hate it. It's like someone trying to sell you a selection box containing all the most mediocre chocolate bars in the world. There are one or two morsels of quality in amongst the shite, however:
The banter between the five leads is entertaining up to a point. There are moments when it seems genuine and improvisational as they all rip into each other with running jokes and routines that feel truly as if they've been going on for years. I mean through the familiarity of old friends, not because they take too long or anything.
I found the group to be surprisingly agreeable company, in spite of mostly being one-note characters lugging around a single joke: Sandler is a rich hollywood agent trying to play down his success, Spade is a drunk and womaniser, Schnieder is a sentimental new-ager with a geriatric wife etc etc.
One of the other positives is Salma Hayek. Just Salma Hayek.
The set-pieces and big jokes are mostly perfunctory and obvious, but not necessarily offensively so, and the whole thing wanders around aimlessly but remains light enough to avoid the sentimental wallowing of the worst Sandler flicks.
The "Grown Ups" all have a brood of aggravatingly precocious children, there's some kind of message about family values hidden in amongst the scenes of Kevin James falling over, and there's an incredibly patronising scene where rich, successful Adam Sandler takes pity on the losers still stuck in his home town and throws a basketball game to give them a taste of success. What a fucking hero.
Worst of all, Steve Buscemi shows up for an ill-advised and unfunny cameo, looking like he just escaped from smack-rehab. Seriously, no human being has ever looked more completely like Gollum.
So, if you're a Sandler fan, it's not his best film, but you'll probably enjoy it enough. Everyone else, it's not really worth bothering with.