Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Premise: A group of elementary school friends and their families reunite for a weekend at a lake. While there the adults reminisce on their youthful stupidity and their children gain an appreciation for nature.
What Works: Grown Ups is a reunion of 1990s Saturday Night Live alumni Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider with sitcom star Kevin James rounding out the main cast. The banter between the characters is funny and the way they relate to each other makes their relationships credible.
What Doesn’t: Grown Ups does not even have the most basic semblance of a story. There is no goal, no conflict, no rising action, no crisis, and no resolution. The closest the film gets to narrative occurs within individual scenes in which some conflict is introduced but is quickly dispatched without consequences or revelation. It is as if these actors decided to go on vacation and take a film crew with them, and that is exactly how the film plays, with endless scenes of the characters and their families drinking, going to water parks, camping, and generally having a lot more fun than the audience watching the film. Grown Ups would have audiences believe that it is celebrating family or the great outdoors but this is a shallow film with no real perspective to offer. That wouldn’t be so bad if there were something else to offset the superficiality of the film but without an actual story, the film just becomes a collection of random shenanigan by middle aged men who ought to know better.
Bottom Line: Grown Ups does deliver a few laughs and people who still find the films of Sandler, Spade, and Schneider funny will probably want to check it out. But otherwise audiences would be better served by watching National Lampoon’s Vacation or The Great Outdoors.
Episode: #296 (July 11, 2010)