Sign up for the
and get $50 off Final Draft 12
By Preston Garrett · June 28, 2010
Once upon a time, going on 20 years ago now, there was a little show called Saturday Night Live. And on this show, about 20 years ago now, there was an iconic set of cast members that more or less reinvigorated the show. Farley. Sandler. Spade. Rock. Schneider (okay, maybe he wasn’t really responsible for the “reinvigoration”.) Hartman. Myers. Nealon. Etc.
Sadly, 2 of the most interesting, entertaining gentlemen on this list have since passed – Mr. Farley and Mr. Hartman. The rest (with the exception of Schneider, and I guess Nealon… and I guess Spade) have skyrocketed to superstardom, dabbling in some of the most successful comedic box office hits of all time, crossing over in to dramatic fare, and conquering the standup comedy scene on an international level.
In their heyday, these guys were like the frat guys you desperately wanted to hang out with – the guys you’d see do ridiculous crap on SNL that’d make you say, “Dude, I seriously think I could hang out with them. Like… they seem so chill, like, I know they’d wanna hang out with me. Seriously dude. Seriously.” We’ve all had these thoughts cross our minds about a celebrity, and for my generation, these were the go-to guys you aspired to chill with down the line.
Flashforward to now. I’m in my mid-20s, and these guys are in their 40s now. Do I still want to hang out with them? I mean… sure? Are they as funny and ludicrous as they used to be? Not really… but I still like them.
Thus is the case with Grown Ups. It’s the story of 4 SNL alum and that guy who starred in an Adam Sandler movie a few years ago, who was also on an acclaimed sitcom (Kevin James.) And we watch them hang out. That’s it.
Yeah, there’s some pseudo-conflicts here and there about the wiles of marriage, pesky in-laws, envy of old friends’ success, and some other domestic issues that are played out in most movies, but they’re pretty inconsequential. Not really worth getting into the nitty gritty about the specific “plot points.”
In short, Sandler, Spade, James, Rock, and Scheider are old friends that used to play on a peewee basketball team together. In 1978 they were the only team from their school to ever win the championship, and it’s all because of Coach “Buzzer” (Blake Clark), their collective father figure that was cooler and more fatherly than their own fathers (mouthful.)
Jump up to present day – Buzzer has died. So all the old cronies get together for the funeral and retire to their childhood lake of choice with all their families to mourn Buzzer, spread his ashes, and get into awkward Sandler-esque scenarios with one another. Enter fart humor, fat jokes, comments about Sandler’s ass getting fat, Schneider being weird and obsessed with older women, Maria Bello’s boob being suckled by her 4-year-old son, Salma Hayek looking fine and everyone acknowledging it, digital generation kids being lambasted by their parents for texting too much, Rock acting like an emasculated housewife, and more predictable fare.
Basically, this movie is what you’d expect: a Sandler movie with Sandler humor starring the regular Sandler crew. I’m not saying this makes Grown Ups bad or anything – just that you see everything that happens coming from a mile away. Director Dennis Dugan (a staple Sandler director for the likes of Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) essentially gets the band back together… to hang out. That’s more or less it. You see 5 real life friends hang out, make fun of each other, talk about their domestic insecurities, and play on a lake.
Yeah, it’s pretty “whatever.” BUT, in the same vein, it’s hard not to enjoy most of the movie, because the simple fact remains that these guys are all icons in their own right. We’ve been watching them for 20 years now – they’ve grown, had missteps, risen to A-list status, and in some cases, have secured themselves on the D-list. Regardless, it really is a case of watching the band get back together, and it’s hard not to let yourself enjoy the fun these guys seem to be having on screen. So, for those of us in our mid-20s to mid-40s, there’s a lot to be enjoyed (and scoffed at) with Grown Ups – it’s equally fun, dumb, and fun again. For those who missed out on the early 90s golden age of SNL (and King of Queens), you might be bored as nuts.
There’s not really much else to say. I laughed. I muttered “pff” under my breath about 30 times. I shook my head at fart jokes about 15 times. And when I left the theater I said, “Eh. That was fun. Not great, but I still enjoyed myself.” So there you have it. It’s some solid escapism that will make you want to watch your Best of SNL DVDs when you go home. Yay!
Oh yeah, the title is ironic, FYI. Cha-Ching!