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Review: Grown Ups 2 (2013)

Grown Ups 2 (2013)

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Premise: A sequel to the 2010 film. The same group of middle aged men (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade) spend a summer day getting into trouble.

What Works: Grown Ups 2 has a couple of notable casting picks in the minor supporting roles. Taylor Lautner plays a macho fraternity brother and the actor is able to poke a little fun at his public image. The other notable casting choice of Grown Ups 2 is Alexander Ludwig as David Spade’s son. The physical juxtaposition of Ludwig and Spade on screen is amusing, at least at first.

What Doesn’t: It has become redundant to criticize Adam Sandler comedies for being bad movies. The pictures released under Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions banner have created their own niche of lousy and the actor/producer has so tarnished his brand that each time Sandler foists his latest cinematic bowel movement on the world the question posed to critics is not “Is it any good?” but rather “How bad is it?” The original Grown Ups was one of the worst movies of 2010 but in many respects Grown Ups 2 is worse. Where the first film was at least superficially about an adult reuniting with his friends and reconnecting with his family, the sequel has none of that pretense. At the start of the sequel, Sandler’s family has permanently moved from the city to the countryside and so the filmmakers of Grown Ups 2 have managed to take an already bland concept and purge it of whatever novelty it may have had. The sequel also takes a turn for the worst in its view of parenthood and family. The original Grown Ups aimed for the lowest common denominator. There was nothing deep about it but the moviemakers had a generally affable regard for family and childhood. The sequel has a nastier disposition. According to the male characters of Grown Ups 2, wives and children are a burden who have spoiled their fun and ruined their lives and they spend most of the movie avoiding their families. Yet, the movie also wants viewers to sympathize with these men as they complain about domesticity and laugh with them as they make jokes at the expense of their wives and children. The biggest problem of the original Grown Ups was its plot, which was really a premise masquerading as a story. The 2010 film was a random collection of shenanigans involving middle aged men but the sequel fails to succeed even at that. The sequel has nothing that can even be remotely described as a plot and like other Adam Sandler films Grown Ups 2 is lazy and unfunny. There are no laughs to be found and the crew makes no effort to create interesting or memorable scenes. In fact, the whole movie is nearly impossible to describe as a story or even as a premise because it is so devoid of basic moviemaking competence. And this has become the defining feature of the movies of Adam Sander and Happy Madison Productions; they stretch the definition of what can called a movie to its limit. Even the craven productions of The Asylum like Sharknado and Titanic II, as cheap and absurd as they may be, at least attempt to entertain the audience and maintain some kind of coherence. But Grown Ups 2 is even more random than the first picture. It is just a bunch of over-the-hill comedic actors showing up on a movie set in exchange for a paycheck.

Bottom Line: Grown Ups 2 may not be quite as rancid as movies like That’s My Boy and Jack and Jill but it is among the laziest pictures to come out of Adam Sandler’s production house. This film is stupid, pointless, and unfunny.

Episode: #448 (July 21, 2013)