Ashvegas movie review: Grown Ups 2


The K-Mart Kronikles: Searching for Rain Man.
(Sony Pictures)

Grown Ups 2 begins with a CGI stag running through the home of Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler), causing mayhem, and peeing on things.  The film doesn’t get much better from there.  Dennis Dugan’s latest effort is a tired collection of fart, pee, poop, dick, ball, boob, Shaq (yes, Shaq), vomit, sex, fat, gay, and transgender jokes with a few lazy racial lines thrown in.  Starring Sandler and his pals as they go through the motions, grasping at their once funny personas, it’s an unfortunate display of bygone talent whose lone saving grace is that it’s over in a hurry.

Since it’s essentially a ’90s movie, might as well have one of the era’s preeminent athletes on board.
(Sony Pictures)

With no real plot of which to speak, the film blindly follows Lenny and his childhood friends, their wives, and children on the last day of school.  Through messily assembled scenes, Roxanne (Salma Hayek) tries to get Lenny interested in having a fourth child; Deanne (Maya Rudolph) forgets her anniversary with McKenzie (Chris Rock), but not vice versa; Eric (Kevin James) tells his wife Sally (Maria Bello) that he’s too busy to spend time with her when he’s secretly hanging out with his mom (Georgia Engel); and Higgins (David Spade) attempts to make nice with a behemoth son (Alexander Ludwig) he just learned existed a week before.  While these conflicts hint at some level of maturity and a more meaningful overall experience, none have any lasting consequences and exist simply as weak excuses of complex adult behavior.

Yeah, but can they burpsnart?
(Sony Pictures)

Furthermore, such lofty subject matter doesn’t stand a chance when Grown Up 2’s primary focus is a “burpsnart,” a burp-sneeze-fart combination.  Pioneered by Eric, the centerpiece gag is sadly trotted out numerous times as he showcases his skill and his friends attempt it themselves.  Between the bodily functions, somewhat of a storyline arises when the guys unintentionally stir up a rivalry with some off-the-deep-end frat boys (among them Taylor Lautner and Milo Ventimiglia) with a penchant for complicated handshakes and shouting trendy phrases.  Content to let the college crowd’s silly behavior define these exchanges, the film would rather have Higgins randomly roll through town inside a dreadfully fake CGI tire or feature Nick Swardson’s boring slapstick and general pursuit of retaining the title of World’s Most Annoying Person.  Once the drama culminates in one of the most poorly choreographed fight scenes in some time, it’s handled with the same lack of guidance that resolves the film’s myriad adversarial relationships without any legitimate struggle, comedic or otherwise.

Turning back the clock in all sorts of horrible ways.
(Sony Pictures)

Worse than the clunky execution is the feeling that, back in the cast’s mid-to-late ‘90s prime, a lot of these jokes (or, more accurately, subsequent drafts of them, when revision was still a thing) probably would have been funny.  The final act’s ‘80s party with sights like Steve Buscemi as Flava Flav and both Rock and Tim Meadows as Prince should be hilarious on principle, but after one unfocused scene after another, the entire grand event packs little of its intended power.  Such underperformance includes the sound of an agitated Rock, which Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York proved still holds strong comedic potential.  Surrounded by such mediocrity, however, his efforts get sucked into the void, and as an accomplice to this empty buffoonery, he winds up as guilty as his co-conspirators.

Grade: D-

Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity.

Grown Ups 2 is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.


krysta April 15, 2014 - 8:05 am

I could not believe they used cgi for the tire rolling scene. I personally know about 10 guys who would happily do that scene with no payment at all! Wtf!? Seriously, i could go on all day at how lame this movie is but if you have seen it then there is no need.

The Week in Film: Sci-Fi Allegory edition August 6, 2013 - 4:34 pm

[…] out are R.I.P.D., Turbo, Grown Ups 2, and The Heat, proving that sometimes garbage day is my favorite day of the […]

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