Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

You’ve probably heard or read, in far more respectable publications than this humble one, that Adam Sandler’s latest film ‘Grown Ups 2’ isn’t very good.  We’re not here to argue that.  It is categorically worst than the first ‘Grown Ups’ which also wasn’t very good, but at least it’s not nearly as horrible as Sandler’s ‘Jack and Jill’.  ‘Grown Ups 2’ is also crass, tasteless and juvenile, but not nearly as tasteless as the last Sandler we saw in ‘That’s my Boy’, but it’s also not as funny.  Thus is in the next few paragraphs, we won’t be able to spin a positive review out of ‘Grown Ups 2’, but we can spin a positive note.  Taylor Lautner… Best. Performance. Ever.  Sure, this movie might be awful, but Taylor… man… he found his groove.  Playing an obnoxious frat boy apparently caters to the young man’s specific talents, plus he even got to display his amazing athletic skills.  The kid is a helluva athlete.  Okay, so I never saw any of those ‘Twilight Movies’… all the way through… but I saw enough, and I did see ‘Shark Boy and Lava Girl’ as well as ‘Abduction’ but those awful movies are now just water under the bridge.  Did Taylor save ‘Grown Ups 2’?  Oh hell no, it would take Neo taking a special green pill and waking up to find out this movie was just a horrible dream to save ‘Grown Ups 2’,  but Taylor and Stone Cold would be your main draws to seeing this film.  Is that a good thing?  Probably not, but it is a thing.

So the boys and their wives are back.  Lenny (Sandler) married to the spicy Roxanne (Salma Hayek), Kurt (Chris Rock) married to the oppressive Deanne (Maya Rudolph), Eric (Kevin James) married to the controlling Sally (Maria Bello) and Marcus who is non-discriminating in his choices of a mate.  Somehow Rob Schneider got left off the roster this time around.  That’s cold.  I’m pretty sure Rob was available that week so I don’t know what went down there. 

Similar to the first film there is no real plot or anything like that, but there are a bunch of little substories.  The main one, I guess, is that Lenny has tired of the Hollywood game and moved the brood back to his home town.  I don’t know where exactly this is.  I’m gonna guess it’s in New York State somewhere.  I guess if there’s an issue with this wide open and spacious neighborhood, it’s that the occasional deer will wander in your house and piss in your face.  This happens in the movies first scene which at least reassures the audience that the mental challenges will be few and far between. 

Other little stories we will be dealing with include Marcus and the knowledge the he has a crazed illegitimate child (Alexander Ludwig) coming to visit, Roxanne’s insane desire to have fourth child, Eric’s desire to hang out with his mom (Georgia Engel), the pompous frat boys hating on the townies, Lenny having to deal with an old high school bully (Stone Cold Steve Austin), and all kinds of stuff.  It does come fast and furious so we do give the filmmakers credit for keeping things moving and putting in max effort in attempting to make the audience laugh.

And eventually it will all boil to a big 80’s party for the entire town, culminating in a brawl. 

Okay, so we’ve already laid the claim that ‘Grown Ups 2’ is a fairly awful movie, and worst… not very funny.  To contrast this, I also thought ‘The Heat’ was a fairly awful movie that was, however, very funny.  Whaddayagonnado?  But there are some amazing things in this film.  This movie takes place over the course of a single day, and about halfway through the day, simply on a whim, Lenny and Roxanne decide to throw a party.  And by the end of the day the entire town knows about it, the house is completely decorated, everybody in town has their costume, the bar is completely stocked and somehow they even managed to fly in the J. Geil’s Band.   You try pulling that off in 45 minutes. 

Let’s go down our check list of grossities that are required if you are making a tasteless comedy.  Urine?  Check.  Vomit?  Check.  Burps?  Check.  Farts?  Check.  Excrement?  Check!  Semen?  Missing!  It’s PG-13 and that might’ve pushed it over the edge.  Special thanks to Kevin James and his character who knocked a couple of the requirements out the box with his ability to burp, sneeze and fart at the same time.  Not once, but three times.  And a bonus time for another character to close the show.  Even if that was funny the first time, which we are going to go out on a limb and say it wasn’t, but it will be exponentially less funny each successive time.  And always remember Armstead’s first and only rule of comedy… Dookey ain’t funny.  Never has been, never will be.

Now don’t allow me to let you think that this movie is devoid of laughter, no sir, it has a couple of really good guffaws littered throughout its 100 minute runtime.  It would be darn near impossible for this movie not to pull off some semblance of laughter with the talent assembled, though I have seen it done before, but it does have some good laughs.  Just not enough of them.  And if Adam wants to give Nick Swardson a break for his next few movies, I’m not going to hate him for it.

I will admit I am surprised that this garnered a sequel as I didn’t see ‘Grown Ups’ as a viable franchise, but that’s why I’m a broke… whatever it is I do… and those guys are rich, and this movie is doing decent business.  No, it’s not very good or all that funny, just like the first one, but who am I to argue with success? 

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