Film Review: "Grown Ups"

After the death of their junior high basketball coach, five friends (Sandler, James, Rock, Spade and Schneider) and their families reunite at a lakehouse to honor the coach's memory. While there, the quintet also visits a water park and is challenged to a rematch by their junior high rivals. A lazy, meandering comedy.

In its favor, Grown Ups feels like an actual reunion of old friends, but watching a group of people make fun of each other can only be interesting for so long. There's the occasional one-liner or gag that works well, but much of the rest is either gross, stupid or both. Unfortunately, if a gag works once, expect to see it several times more (which should come as no surprise given Sandler's usual movies). The plot is very loose and limited; the movie grinds to a halt whenever it rears its head, like during the obligatory "lesson" moments. Also, with a cast as large as this, many of the actors are terribly underutilized, relegating some very talented people to sorely-diminished roles. James spends most of his time in the "fat man fall down, go boom" role, Maria Bello is basically an overlong breast-feeding joke and Maya Rudolph only gets to complain and be pregnant. The net product is a movie that feels unfocused and a bit too long. It has a few decent laughs scattered throughout, but I can't recommend anything more than a rental.

 

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