Grown Ups: Film Review

In the middle-aged male reunion comedy "Grown Ups," Adam Sandler and a bunch of his old "SNL" buddies party like it's 1978. Unfortunately they didn't bother to invite the audience.

In the middle-aged male reunion comedy "Grown Ups," Adam Sandler and a bunch of his old "Saturday Night Live" buddies party like it's 1978.

Unfortunately, they didn't bother to invite the audience.

Instead, Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, along with Kevin James, seem perfectly content to crack one another up, and though it's nice to see they all got along so swell, it would have been nicer if one could have shared in all the frivolity.

Despite the lazily self-satisfied results, his aging fan base likely will come along for the lackadaisical ride simply because this looks more like the fun (as in immature) Sandler rather than his more recent, less commercially successful nods to maturity ("Funny People" and "Reign Over Me").

The death of a childhood former basketball coach is the impetus for Sandler's Lenny Feder -- a Hollywood agent with a glam fashion-designer wife (Salma Hayek), three spoiled kids and a nanny -- to hook up with some of his old teammates for the first time in 30 years.

They include nice-guy James, a businessman with a gorgeous wife (Maria Bello) who still breastfeeds their 4-year-old son; and fellow family man Rock, who gets no respect from his pregnant wife (Maya Rudolph) and his flatulent mother-in-law (Ebony Jo-Ann).
Rounding out the old posse is New Age-y Schneider and his considerably older, earth-mother wife (Joyce Van Patten) and Spade as the understandably unattached, womanizing poster boy for arrested development.

After quickly attending to their coach's funeral, the gang makes a fun family weekend of it at an idyllic East Coast lake house.

Reuniting with his go-to director Dennis Dugan ("You Don't Mess With the Zohan" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," to name two), Sandler, who co-wrote the rough draft of a script with Fred Wolf, doesn't break much of a sweat on either side of the screen. He and Dugan appear happy to let his cohorts make a lot of it up as they go along.

Apparently sensing that even their awesome riffing abilities might come up short, at about the halfway point, the cast abruptly heads for a water park, allowing Sandler and the boys to do such shtick as pee in the wave pools and ogle Schneider's inexplicably bodacious daughters.

In the process, the considerable talent (and beauty) of the likes of Hayek and Bello effectively have been squandered, relegated to the sidelines undoubtedly to make room for all those lamely telegraphed farty-grandma bits.

Too bad they didn't take a cue from music supervisors Michael Dilbeck and Brooks Arthur, whose inspired selection of oldies but goodies, including tracks by J. Geils Band, the Kinks and Bob Welch, steer clear of the obvious.

Opens: Friday, June 25 (Columbia Pictures)
Production companies: Relativity Media, Happy Madison Prods.
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider
Director: Dennis Dugan
Screenwriters: Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf
Executive producers: Allen Covert, Steve Koren, Barry Bernardi, Tim Herlihy
Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo
Director of photography: Theo Van de Sande
Production designer: Perry Andelin Blake
Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams
Costume designer: Ellen Lutter
Editor: Tom Costain
Rating: PG-13, 98 minutes

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