Grown Ups 2: Another Sandler Vanity Project
One cannot deny the fact that actor and founder of Happy Madison Productions – a production company responsible for comic lemons such as The Animal, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan – looks like he may have lost his touch. The goofball charm that made him so likable appears to be wearing rather thin. Never-the-less, there are still people out there who don’t mind paying good money to go and see the one and only Adam Sandler in action.
Grown Ups 2 plays out over the course of one seemingly long day. Lenny Feder (Sandler), deciding to return to his roots, has now relocated back to his East Coast hometown along with his wife, Roxanne (Hayek) and their three kids. The quandaries of fatherhood is something that he now has to deal with, but at least he’s not on his own; his buddies, including cable repairman Kurt (Rock), fart-master Eric (James) and eternal loafer, Marcus (Higgins), all share the same burden of parenthood.
Kurt, along with wife Deanne (Rudolph), has three children of his own – including one terrorising toddler. Eric and wife Sally (Bello) struggle in managing their stubborn son, while Marcus is forced to face paternity when he discovers that he’s father to begrudging teenage son, Braden (Ludwig).
It’s the start of the summer and, feeling the splendour of their reunion, the foursome head for a day out. Roaming around their hometown, they interact with the locals, before eventually running into a few local frat boys – led by Andy (Lautner) – who force the group to deal with their deep-seated high school memories of bullying.
Director Dennis Dugan, Sandler’s long-time collaborator and winner of one too many Razzie awards, steps behind the camera for the ninth time with his shining star. Sandler fans will be pleased to see not much has changed in the Dugan-Sandler formula. Much like its predecessor, there isn’t an ounce of fluidity, flow or sense to the story.
Even the potentially exciting idea of including cameos from other Saturday Night Live alumni is poorly handled and rushed, and essentially comes across as a desperate move to fuel interest in this otherwise nonsensical narrative.
Thankfully, James and Rock are slightly more alert and animated throughout the film, though the talents of Hayek, Rudolph and the rest of the wives are criminally underutilised.
Grown Ups 2 is a pointless and unnecessary sequel; absurd, coarse and heavy-handed on brainless humour, it sure looks like someone here still has some serious growing up to do.