Mark Reviews Movies

Grown Ups 2


1 Star (out of 4)

Director: Dennis Dugan

Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swardson, Steve Buscemi

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity)

Running Time: 1:41

Release Date: 7/12/13

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Review by Mark Dujsik | July 12, 2013

Within five minutes, it's clear that Grown Ups 2 is out of ideas. The movie starts with a complete non sequitur that finds Lenny (Adam Sandler) waking up to discover that a 12-point buck is standing next to his bed. Frightened, the poor creature stands on its hind legs and proceeds to urinate all over Lenny. About a minute later, the buck is once again scared when Lenny's son screams upon seeing it, and the beast proceeds to urinate all over the son.

These are not the last urine-based jokes in Grown Ups 2. One involves a stain on a man's underwear. Another sees former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal playing a local cop who gets too comfortable in a swimming pool, gradually turning all of the water dark blue, which is a joke that was set up all the way back in the first movie.

There are probably more here, but if one can remember four pee jokes from one Adam Sandler movie, isn't that a sign that it's probably best not to try to recall any others? Questions like this are the ones that can make for a sleepless night of self-evaluation for a critic.

Why should one bother, though? It's useless to get mad at this movie, which is nothing more than a collection of jokes about bodily functions that occasionally laughs at people injuring themselves in order to take a break from gags about urine, vomit, soft-serve chocolate ice cream that looks like it's coming out of a man's rear end, a showroom-floor toilet that a different man sleepily decides to use to deposit what the ice cream is representing, another guy showing off his ability to "burp-sneeze-fart," and more.

Is there any good that could come of raging against the emerging of the burp-sneeze-fart? Granted, it's not funny, but it's innocent, childish humor. The effort it would take to call upon the emotion necessary to get angry at the joke and its ilk would be completely disproportionate to the effort Sandler, his co-screenwriters Fred Wolf and Tim Herlihy, and director Dennis Dugan have put into the movie.

This is tiresome stuff, and the movie continues its predecessor's central problem of not having a clear through line for its scenario or any of its characters. Lenny, Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock), and Marcus (David Spade) are still man-children who refuse to grow up (Do you see the irony inherent in the title?), and they still continue to have problems that could be easily solved if they did.

At least the movie isn't blaming their wives this time, although that's primarily because the wives are non-characters in this one. Well, Lenny's wife Roxanne (Salma Hayek), who even Lenny admits in the movie's single and genuinely clever joke is too beautiful for him, is over-emotional (the movie's opinion of her) because she wants to have another kid, so it does aim one sexist stereotype at one of its few major female characters (Speaking of sexism, can we talk about the MPAA ratings board's glaring double standard in pointing out that a movie's nudity is of the "male rear" variety, directly implying that there's something different—worse, more offensive—about the same of the female kind?). Let's not forget that, at an aerobics class, the wives fall for a janitor (Jon Lovitz) convincing them to stretch for his perverse jollies, and we can't ignore the portrayal of Penny (Cheri Oteri), Lenny's girlfriend from childhood who still obsesses over him.

The little plot that exists is really just a plan: Lenny is going to throw a big start-of-summer party at his big house in his hometown, where he and his friends have moved back to in between movies. Before that, the movie consists of episodic adventures and bits that include Lenny accidentally breaking his son's leg while practicing kicking a football (which means he can "joke" about "accidentally" breaking the other one later) and Marcus, who's adjusting to life with his heretofore unknown and abrasively delinquent son (Alexander Ludwig), getting into a big tire and accidentally being allowed to roll through town in it. There are a couple of amusing gags, like the guys being forced to dive naked off the top of a quarry by a flipping, insane frat boy (Taylor Lautner) and crashing into water in increasingly painful and embarrassing ways or a car wash run by college cheerleaders where Eric's wife Sally (Maria Bello) tries to show that she doesn't care if he looks at other women, only to end up with the male cheerleading squad.

That's about it, though. Considering how lazy Grown Ups 2 is, there's really no point in any further effort, so that will actually be it for this review, too.

Copyright © 2013 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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