Sandler sticks with juvenile humor in ‘Grown Ups’

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:20pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Adam Sandler will take any excuse to hang out with his buddies, as evidenced by the cast of “Grown Ups”: a posse of old “Saturday Night Live” cohorts, plus Sandler’s “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” co-star, Kevin James.

The excuse this time, courtesy of a script by Sandler and Fred Wolf, is that a bunch of old grade-school buddies reunite for a weekend, brought together by the funeral of their old basketball coach.

If this sounds like “The Big Chill” for goofballs, you’re not far off the mark. But “Grown Ups” avoids midlife nostalgia by sticking with slapstick and bad taste.

Sandler plays a Hollywood agent, married to a trophy wife (Salma Hayek) and troubled by how spoiled his children have become. As the guy who hit the game-winning shot in a legendary 1978 basketball showdown, he’s the alpha male of the group.

Chris Rock plays a henpecked house-husband (Maya Rudolph is his pregnant wife), and Kevin James is a weight-challenged car salesman. His wife is played by Maria Bello, whose main running joke is that she still breast-feeds the couple’s 4-year-old son.

David Spade plays the perpetual lecherous bachelor of the group, and Rob Schneider is a New Age-y type with a bad toupee (an “Elvis impersonator Oompa Loompa,” as one friend describes him). Schneider’s character prefers older women, as his septuagenarian wife (Joyce Van Patten) proves.

Even more “SNL” cast members are scattered around, with Colin Quinn getting a few funny scenes as a hometown guy still bitter about the basketball game.

The boys and their families spend a weekend together, with outdoor high jinks and bodily-function jokes. With almost no plot to speak of, the film clumps around in search of comic set-pieces; it mines 15 minutes of jokes from a water park sequence, then moves on to the next thing.

To give the movie some credit, it never gets quite as crude as the marginally similar “Hot Tub Time Machine,” which is a relief. The general niceness of Sandler’s moviemaking holds sway, and nobody comes out bruised.

Also, there is a sight gag involving Kevin James and a backyard pool that actually is funny. When that stands as a high point, the film probably has issues.

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