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Grown Ups (2010)

A movie directed by Dennis Dugan starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock

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Life is not about winning or losing but how you play the game.

  • Jul 21, 2010
Rating:
+4

I am a recent "convert" of Adam Sandler and Kevin James' humor. Originally, I couldn't stand their slapstick comedic takes, many of which I felt were stupid or insulting to women. After watching a few seasons of King of Queens, I warmed up to Kevin James. Adam Sandler was a little more difficult to like because many of his films were practically the same plot structures, which becomes boring and predictable. The movie that first caught my attention was 50 First Dates. To this day, I can watch that film again and again without getting bored. Since then, I have found diamonds in the rough with these two comedians, (Adam Sandler in Reign over Me and both Sandler and James in I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry).

Grown Ups is not of the same caliber as the films I previously mentioned, but it's still a fun movie experience for fans of the genre. First, it has a stellar comedic cast which includes Adam Sandler (Lenny Feder), Kevin James (Eric Lamonsoff), Chris Rock (Kurt McKenzie), David Spade (Marcus "Higgy" Higgins), and Rob Schneider (Rob Hillard). In fact, many of the actors in the film previously made appearances or began their comedy careers on Saturday Night Live (SNL), so Grown Ups feels like one giant reunion movie. What makes the film fun for us ladies is that the female actresses can hold their own against such comedy giants. Selma Hayek (Roxanne Chase-Feder), Maria Bello (Sally Lamonsoff), Maya Rudolph (Deanne McKenzie), and Gloria (Joyce Van Patten) are truly an all-star female cast that balances the antics of the men without downplaying their own humorous scenes. 

The story is nothing unique. In 1978, a group of five boys lose touch after winning a championship basketball game despite the wise words of Coach "Buzzer" (Blake Clark) to live their lives the same way they played that game. A tragic event brings the old friends back together after thirty years of separation to celebrate the week of Fourth of July together. It is through the antics of that week that they realize life is not about winning or losing but how they play the game.

Critics have complained that the film is predictable and the morals and lessons are forced. I both agree and disagree. Just because a film is predictable doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable, as demonstrated by James Cameron's film Avatar. Part of the key to enjoying films like these is to go into the theaters without expecting too much. Instead, it's about sitting back, relaxing, and just enjoying the thrill of the outing. In this case, that was very easy to do. As I watched the film, I was laughing nonstop, even when some of the jokes were predictable or ruined by earlier trailers. In fact, sometimes I was laughing purely because of the strange situations that the characters were constantly being placed in. I couldn't tell if the event was funny, weird, or just plain gross. Regardless, I was still cracking up with laughter, which means Grown Ups was achieving its goal--to make the audience laugh. In fact, the entire theater was cracking up throughout the movie, again, another sign that something was right with the film.

As far as the jokes and situations go, some were really odd and disconcerting. They bordered on not being funny for me purely because they were just too "out there." For example, there is the running gag of Maria Bello (Sally Lamonsoff) breast-feeding her son despite the fact that the boy is four years old. That was a bit too strange for my tastes. Another joke was about Rob Schneider (Rob Hillard) liking older women; his wife Gloria is old enough to be his grandmother! I found myself thinking that I was glad these weren't my families or kids. As the movie progressed, though, I found myself admiring these characters for the very oddities and quirks that at first seemed terribly unusual and unrealistic. After the film was over, I spoke with another viewer about how some women do breastfeed their babies until they're as old as five years (talk about overkill!). So, there really are people as strange as those presented in Grown Ups.

A large part of how I accepted the movie had to do with my mindset. Once I relaxed and stopped trying to make sense of it all, I began to enjoy the extremely freakish situations, such as the two hot daughters of Rob Hillard and the one disturbingly ugly daughter: Madison Riley (Jasmine Hilliard), Jamie Chung (Amber Hilliard), and Ashley Loren (Bridget Hilliard). Some of the less strange jokes became funnier too, such as the constantly farting grandmother.

I know I have already given away a lot of jokes, and I don't want to ruin the movie for those who have not seen Grown Ups yet. I do want to stress, though, that my favorite jokes all occurred at the water park. There was one funny scene with the women lounging around on the deck and an equally funny scene with the men floating around in the kiddie pool. This was a comedic high point next to the games the "men" play at the house they are renting. All in all, I was highly entertained. 

As far as the acting and directing goes, there was nothing that stood out. The actors did a fantastic job playing their specific characters, but I was a little disappointed that Kevin James wasn't given funnier jokes or opportunities in the film. Because the film was produced by Sandler's company Happy Madison Productions, it felt as if his role and jokes had to overshadow everyone else's (even though I think Kevin James is a more talented comedian). I was surprised that Selma Hayek fit so well with this group too since I would never have pictured her starring in such a film. She looked good in every outfit she wore and was the hottest woman in the movie.

One thing that kept standing out to me about this film were the themes. There were the more obvious ones: children enjoying their childhood and adults living their lives with no regrets (which was often equivalent to living like children). Other themes included learning to lose in life and loving and respecting your spouse despite the times when you are angry and want to yell and call them silly names. The theme that stood out the most was having a role model/father type figure who you admired and what it truly means to loose that person with death. It felt like a more important theme than just the initial setup for the story. My hunches were correct when at the end of the film Adam Sandler started singing a song called "Stan the Man." Basically, it was a song about Sandler's father, who I believe the character of Coach "Buzzer" was based on. Even though I haven't been a fan of Adam Sandler's movies, I've always appreciated his musical talents. True, he's not the best singer, yet I always find his lyrics engaging. "Stan the Man" was not disappointing. It had just the right amount of sentimentality and humor, and it's worth sitting through all the credits to listen to (it's the last credit song). 

The other music in the film was nothing to rave over. Most of it was very retro, but it fit with the overall themes and lessons. Some of the more popular artists included AC/DC, Aerosmith, Journey, Eddie Money, and Paul McCartney. Of course there was a Fleetwood Mac song too, "Monday Morning." Personally, I enjoyed the music, but I'm not sure a younger crowd would have been as impressed. 


In the end, it's important to realize that Grown Ups isn't one of Sandler's top films. It is neither wholly comedic nor serious. It walks in "shades of gray" that actually turned out to be a detriment to the overall acceptance of the film by the general public. When going to see a movie, most people want the extremes; that's what makes the entire movie-going experience worthwhile.

Despite the low ratings, the film is worth seeing because it is a feel good pseudo-comedy with life lessons mixed in (just for the fun of it). If you can relax, you will laugh your socks off like I did. If you're determined to find fault, you will be missing out on a truly fun and real comedy. Come on...you know people and families just like the ones presented in this film! It's this level of ridiculousness and diversity that makes life so absurdly funny. Plus, it's been a while since Sandler has regaled the public with a new song. It was the final message and credit song that pushed Grown Ups into a slightly higher rating than I had initially anticipated. 

Life Is Not about Winning or Losing but How You Play the Game. Life Is Not about Winning or Losing but How You Play the Game. Life Is Not about Winning or Losing but How You Play the Game. Life Is Not about Winning or Losing but How You Play the Game.

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August 17, 2011
I know I wrote earlier when I had not seen it yet; now I have seen it at least 50 times on Dish and I love it. Despite a couple of scenes I could have done without (no big deal really LOL) I thought it was fun, entertaining, and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to boot! A great "friendship" film and I liked all the characters, especially Joyce Van Patten - I loved her character. I didn't think that Selma Hayek fit in as well as the others though and was surprised that Chris Rock didn't have more of a "character" than what he did.
September 14, 2011
I agree with you 100%. Fun film for the warm fuzzies, a few useless scenes, etc. You're so lucky to be able to watch it on Dish, lol. I would love to watch it at least a couple more times. :)
 
July 03, 2011
Adam Sandler movies are usually funny and entertaining.
July 07, 2011
Agreed. Thanks for reading my review, Joseph!
 
July 22, 2010
Wow, great review, Adrianna! I've been kind of curious about this given the random ensemble of some of my favorite funnymen. I'll definitely have to catch this now. Thanks for sharing! :)
July 22, 2010
Thanks for reading the review, Debbie. It's a fun, feel good movie, so I think you will enjoy it, especially if you don't mind some oddball humor. :)
July 22, 2010
I LOVE some oddball humor! :D
July 22, 2010
Great! Then you are definitely in the right place!
 
July 22, 2010
Excellent review!! I think when it comes out on DVD I may rent it; it sounds like I may enjoy it. Sandler is a hit and miss for me; I think James is a cutie, but was disappointed in his performance in Mall Cop, so I am not a die hard fan. Wonderful review and I enjoyed reading it!!
July 22, 2010
Thanks so much for reading the review, Brenda! It's definitely worth the rental costs. I liked James in "Mall Cop," lol. I used to hang out at the mall a lot (still do when I have too much free time), and I always wondered about those mall cops. Have you ever seen that show about the largest mall in America? I want to visit that place someday!
July 23, 2010
Hi hunni - I did like him in Mall Cop, but maybe it was just the writing of the movie that didn't appeal to me; I believe maybe they should have given James funnier things to say or do then they actually did because he is a cutie-pie; he seems to have a face that is funny to look at but he's adorable at the same time (if that makes any sense LOL). I love the mall too Adrianna - the smell of money does something to me LOL. I don't think I know about the largest mall in America-but I know I would need plenty of money if I ever went there - wouldn't that be a blast!! Thanks again for the great review; very impressive writing!!
July 23, 2010
Yes, it makes a ton of sense! Kevin James just has this way about him...he's comedic and lovable! It's a really interesting show...I wish I could remember what it's called. It's probably on the Hallmark or Lifetime station. Oh well. Thanks for being an awesome reader, Brenda!
July 23, 2010
An awesome reader for an awesome review!!
July 23, 2010
Aw!! Thanks! Now, we're both awesome! :D
 
July 21, 2010
Eh, most American comedies aren't really my thing. I do like your review though. I'm not the biggest Adam Sandler fan, but some of his films are hilarious. I love "Billy Madison", "Happy Gilmore", and "The Wedding Singer". See any of those?
July 21, 2010
Yeah, same here. I like some of the old school comedians, like John Candy and Bob Hope. I've found new appreciate for some of the modern comedics, especially since watching "Last Comic Standing."

I didn't really like "Bill Madison" or "Happy Gilmore" too much, but I know I own them, lol, so I can always do a re-watch. I did enjoy "The Wedding Singer." :)
July 22, 2010
you know, surprisingly, I did like FUNNY PEOPLE for some reason. I didn't love it but I thought it was a nice for Sandler to do a drama-comedy.
July 22, 2010
Yeah, that film was interesting. I don't remember how much I loved/liked/hated it, but it did leave an impression!
July 22, 2010
I typically like British comedies, satire, and dark comedies. The usual stuff is often too predictable and not funny to me. Although, I must admit that I'll watch anything with Bill Murray, except maybe those Garfield movies.
July 22, 2010
The British comedies are a hit or miss for me. Some dark comedies are too dark for me, like "War of the Roses." I do like Billy Murray, though I never did see the "Garfield" movies.
July 22, 2010
Did you see the original "Death at a Funeral"? The American remake is total crap, but the original is brilliant!
July 22, 2010
Nope, I have not seen that film before.
July 22, 2010
It's hilarious. It made me laugh more than any movie I've seen in the last ten years or so.
July 23, 2010
I guess I will have to check it out, then. :)
July 23, 2010
It's pretty cheap on Amazon.
July 23, 2010
Great. I'll look into it. I don't usually find death humorous, so it will be interesting to see if I like it.
July 24, 2010
Oh, it's not the death that's humorous, but how dysfunctional the family is, what happens when a hidden affair is revealed involving the deceased patriarch of the family, and a hallucinogenic drug accidentally gets mistaken for Valium. It's funny.
July 27, 2010
Interesting. I do enjoy dysfunctional families. :)
July 27, 2010
Most people do, so long as it's not their own. : )
July 27, 2010
I find humor with my own dysfunctional family. :)
July 27, 2010
Mine is humorlessly dysfunctional.
July 27, 2010
Yup, you have told me this before.
July 27, 2010
And you'll probably hear it all over again! ; )
July 27, 2010
I'm prepared. :)
 
July 21, 2010
Yes very much so agree with your write up, excellent job and much better than mine. I completely agree that Kevin James should have been given more to do as he is an all time favorite of mine. Of course Selma Hayek was great looked great as well, amazing review and very very well written.
July 21, 2010
Thanks, Alex, for reading my review. I think yours was just as good, though, and it helped inspire my own review. Kevin James gets less notice next to Adam Sandler. I felt the same thing happened in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." I've got a soft spot for the fat comedians, I think, cause I think James is so cute! Selma Hayek was super hot in the movie! I'm sure all the men enjoyed her. I liked a lot of the outfits she wore too. Thanks again for the wonderful review compliments! :)
 
July 21, 2010
amazingly meticulous write up! You and Alex may have convinced me to see this asap. Iagree, predictability when used right can be good and these days, it's hard to find a 100% original movie. You are awesome. I loved the review!
July 21, 2010
Thanks, William! I'm surprised I was able to be that meticulous in the state I've been in! I noticed some things I didn't like later, but I'm not going to edit it. I'm too tired. I'm glad Alex and I convinced you to see the movie. I think you will enjoy it. I would categorize it as a "feel-good" comedy. :)
 
July 21, 2010
Great review. Believe it or not, I was seriously thinking about writing a review for this movie last week, but I changed my mind, lol. Now seeing that you've written one, I might just decide to write a review on this now :-). I agree with you that the movie had some good life lessons, but the very awkward jokes and the lack of any kind of plot brought it down for me. Also, the running gags (especially the breast milk one. Seriously, it was funny the first couple of times, but then, it became VERY uncomfortable to watch them keep going back to it when they had no other new material to use) were pretty annoying as well. We have five of the best comics/actors in the world in the film and I really did feel they could have done better with this. I'll most likely rate it a +1 or +2 if I write a review on this. It was ok, but it needed a lot of work in certain areas.
July 21, 2010
LOL! I am so glad you liked my review, Pard! It's so funny that you were thinking about writing one too. I was just telling Shel about the movie, and that she should go see it. If you do write a review, you know I will be reading it!

I agree and disagree with some of your comments. I do think the film had a plot (or at least as much a plot as Sandler's comedic films seem to have), and I throughly enjoyed that aspect. I agreed that I was starting to get weirded out every time Maria Bello started to whip out her breasts for her son, lol! Eventually, I just relaxed and went with some of the odder jokes. I started laughing at the scenes that were weird, and I enjoyed the film a lot more. Plus, I loved what it led up to (the confrontation with Kevin James and his son). And let's not forget the women's comment about men using the women:

Sally Lamonsoff: See that? Now he won't even drink from me. 
Roxanne Chase-Feder: That's what men do. They take and take, and then give you up for some cow. 
Sally Lamonsoff: Well now I don't know what I'm going to do with these. 
Eric Lamonsoff: I do. 

These moments were funny, and I think they needed the constant running gags/build up to be funny. 

Finally, I agree with you about their comedic caliber, but I also don't think it was a fully fledged comedy film (even though I'm categorizing it as that because I laughed a lot). It was more of an "in-betweener," and I don't think it was supposed to be as funny as some of their other films. That point was pretty obvious as soon as I realized that Chris Rock was the stay at home "wife," lol! That was not the comedy role I expected from him!

Originally, I was going to rate it a +3, but I really liked the end message and the song that Sandler performed. Did you hear "Stan the Man?" I love sitting through all the credits of a film!
July 22, 2010
Yeah, the closing credits were ok with the "Stan the Man" song. I'll give the movie that. But I do think that it lacked a plot. The movie pretty much goes like this in terms of plot. Coach dies, they go to funeral for Coach, then they go to cabin for the weekend, hang out, and...........well, that's about it. Even though I do generally like movies that are more character driven than plot driven, I felt that so little was going on here that the movie needed a plot....hell, anything.....to keep some interest and momentum going. Instead, we got a barrage of weird jokes and uncomfortable moments. It seemed like they were just making things up as they were going along. I guess it's good to have a spontaneous movie at times and there were points in the film that were pretty funny. But overall, it just seemed like a recycled dud of old jokes tied around an almost nonexistent storyline. Also, the whole running gag about Rob Schneider's "ugly" daughter bordered on downright mean at times. It was kind of sad. I'll give Sandler an A for trying something kind of different from what he normally does. I'll also give Chris Rock credit for playing a different type of role that we're not used to seeing him play. But overall, if I had this script, I'd make some massive rewrites. lol.
July 22, 2010
Yeah, it definitely wasn't a plot driven movie. It was a character driven movie, and you had to like the characters to enjoy it. Since you didn't, it makes sense that you didn't like the film. Like I mentioned in my review, the weird jokes did make for some uncomfortable moments if you took the film too seriously. When I relaxed and just sat back to enjoy the film, I started laughing my socks off, especially at all the weird moments! Like I said, it was confusing about whether I thought it was funny or just plain gross, but I was still laughing.

And the ugly daughter joke was hilarious! They did a fantastic job of making the girl look like Rob Schneider, and she is actually quite attractive in real life. I think you are reading too much into that message if you are feeling sad for her, lol! It was a funny way of juxtaposing the hot chicks next to the "ugly" chick, and then ruining the guy moments when they were fantasizing about the other daughters, like when Bridget (the "ugly" daughter) called the men pervs for checking her out when they were building their tree house. Then the guys turned their chairs around...priceless!

In the end, I don't think this was a movie necessarily made for the public but more as a means for the old comedians to get back together and have a bit of sport. It's not like they needed the money or massive sale of tickets, lol.
July 23, 2010
Yeah, all five of them are already big comedians in their own right, so they don't really need the money, lol. I don't know, the ugly daughter thing could've been funny had they been more creative and subtle about the joke. But instead, they would just flat out say "she's ugly" at times and it didn't come off very funny, instead it felt like mean teasing and was uncomfortable. But I'm sure she had a good time playing the role. I'll have to see what the "ugly" daughter looks like in real life at some point. She probably is quite attractive. But yeah, I guess the movie was a way to bring old friends back together which is good. A critic mentioned that the film feels like it's more fun for the people in the movie than it is for the people in the audience. That's pretty much how I felt, lol.
July 23, 2010
I think you're reading too much into the ugly daughter joke, Pard. It's like you are being uber-sensitive or something...which is strange. Basically, in any modern comedian film people can find things that are too rough, mean, teasing, or uncomfortable, this film is not an exception to that rule. It's just the way modern comedies run.

Do check out how she looks in real life. When I was watching it, I never thought she was ugly. More, she just looked like her dad, lol. She is pretty without all the makeup. 

I agree. This was a film more for the comedians than for the audience members.
 
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More Grown Ups (2010 movie) reviews
review by . January 04, 2012
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Inappropriate humor ? Yes did you expect anything less?
Grown Ups I remember the first time I saw the trailer for this movie; it had me on the floor hyperventilating, why? Well because this film has bunch of the funniest comedy actors all together that’s why. David Spade, Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock andRob Schneider, Hell as a kid I basically grew up on these guys movies. (Yes and Disney’s to) So this movie was defiantly a first day watch for me.       Grown ups is about five friends who after thirty years …
review by . July 13, 2010
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      GROWN UPS   I am a huge Kevin James fan and have not missed one of his films at the theaters, so of course I had to go see this film. Add in that I am a huge David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and Rob Schneider fan and I just can’t have a bad time at this movie. Now I will say from the get go this film is not for everybody and I have noticed that some people just don’t get this film. This film is basically what the title says, growing up, and well …
review by . October 29, 2010
isn't half bad as far as these movies go, and I like its emphasis on family. However, the humor in Grown Ups is just really odd and random at times. Not infrequently, there will be something that's supposed to be funny, but just isn't (like an old black grandmother farting). The biggest problem with the movie though is that it seems rushed. It was heading towards an interesting confrontation, but all of the tension is resolved within a few minutes and a group conversation. It's almost like the director …
review by . June 25, 2010
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Somewhere within "Grown Ups" is a film that can be taken seriously. There are good themes at work: Friendship, family, generation gaps, the ups and downs of marriage, whether or not aging is the same as maturing. The problem is, none of it shines through the murk of its incessant low grade comedy; rather than make us laugh with genuinely funny material, writers Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf rely on juvenile jokes that put all emphasis on unrealistic personality quirks. It's all character and no development. …
Quick Tip by . September 18, 2010
It takes a little time for the film to find its footing, but by the end I was giggling so hard I had tears pouring down my cheeks. The overall message of the film was good as well -- family and friends are what brings joy in life, while money and things are fleeting.
review by . June 28, 2010
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There's all sorts of comedies out there. There's the high-brow satirical ones, the low, bawdy comedies (a friend of mine once asked, "Are pornographic BBS's baudy?" None of you under 20 will get that), the surreal comedies, the slapstick and the romantic. A good comedy film (or book, or TV show), can be any of these categories. Some of the best cross through many of them. But all these comedies have one thing in common: they must be funny. A good comedy can offend. It can shock. It can rock your …
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Adam Sandler and his frequent costars (Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider) grope blindly for maturity in the genial comedyGrown Ups. Five childhood pals are drawn back together after the death of their former basketball coach; over the course of a Fourth of July weekend, they--along with their wildly attractive wives (played by Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph) and precocious children--loosen up, try to introduce their kids to the simple pleasures of nature, air some dirty laundry, and rediscover their friendship. In other words, it's a fairly formulaic comedy that veers awkwardly from gags (ranging from slapstick to mean-spiritedness) to sentiment (ranging from sappy to not entirely sappy). Its appeal will depend entirely on your feelings about Sandler and the rest of the gang--if you like this bunch of lugs (in all their prolonged adolescent glory), then you'll like this movie. If you don't, you won't. Everyone's in relaxed but good form; affable is more the comic goal than razor sharp. Expect gags about being fat, being old, prolonged breast-feeding, ogling hot chicks, flatulence, etc. There's some role reversal: it's the women, particularly Hayek as a type-A fashion designer, who need to learn the eternal cinematic lesson that family is more important than work. Featuring guest appearances from Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn, and Steve Buscemi.--Bret Fetzer

Poster art for "Grown Ups."
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Tags

Movies, Comedy Movies, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider

Details

Director: Dennis Dugan
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 25 June 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Adam Sandler
DVD Release Date: November 9, 2010
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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