Title: Grown Ups 2
HTS Overall Score:76
As the opening production credits for Grown Ups 2 are unveiled we are smacked in the face with one iconic reminder of what has been. The words “Happy Madison Productions” grace the screen and a warm feeling of yesteryear tugs at the heart strings; a time when Adam Sandler permanently affixed himself as one Hollywood’s big guns with hit parade of solid – albeit juvenile – comedic efforts including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy. Yes folks, those were the days. In a matter of seconds, however, the credits are done and we are pulled into what proves to be an hour and forty minutes of a sad, depressing, present day reality. Here’s just a quick slice: Scene one has Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) waking-up next to his gorgeous wife (Salma Hayek) and basking in the golden glow of a beautiful morning. Unbeknownst to Lenny, a giant buck is standing next to his bed preparing to bath him in the warmth of a golden shower. After soaking Lenny, the buck stampedes through the Feder home unleashing more golden love before charging through the front door chasing little Becky Feder’s (Alexys Sanchez) sock monkey. Of course thrown into the scene are undergarments flying through the air, the teenage son exposed in the shower, a near collision with an obnoxious mailman, and destruction of several rooms in the Feder home.
You get the picture.
Grown Ups 2 is just that kind of movie. Silly. Childish. Predictable. On the upside, it features an honor roll of funny comedians. Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, and Sandler lead the charge (Sandler being the showcase actor of the bunch) along with smaller comedic rolls for Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, and Jon Lovitz. The well-known Salma Hayek plays the role of Sandler’s wife. Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, wrestler Steve Austin, and Steve Buscemi are also given screen time and ESPN-stars Dan Patrick and Chris Berman make cameo appearances. That’s a heavy list of names. What this movie is NOT lacking is starpower. Unfortunately, it’s lacking in nearly every other department. Despite being destroyed by critics it appears that director Dennis Dugan did something right, though, because Grown Ups 2 raked-in over $245 million in box office sales world wide. With a production budget of only $80 million, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that it was a hit among Hollywood execs.
The film revisits a group of childhood buddies (James, Rock, Spade and Sandler) that made the original Grown Ups surprisingly popular. The plot is mind numbingly basic. Sandler and his pals live in the town of their youth – apparently a town no one ever leaves. They are spending the day preparing for a 1980’s themed party to celebrate the end of school and the beginning of summer. As we follow the gang we are inundated with jokes about the days of yore and introduced to each character’s issues. Sandler is struggling to come to grips with his teenage son’s shyness and his wife’s yearning for a fourth child. Rock and his wife (Maya Rudolph) are celebrating their 20th anniversary which Rudolph conveniently forgets. David Spade is a liar and a loser who’s in love with a Hulk Hulgan look-alike weightlifting woman. His long lost son (Alexander Ludwig) comes for a visit and turns out to be a tattoo-marked knife wielding pile of adolescent trouble. And Kevin James has a weird “Mommy” affinity that leads him to constantly sneak away from his wife to be babied by his mother at her home.
The film goes for the jugular of laughter by exploring just about every possible avenue of humor. We are smacked-around with bathroom humor, relationship jokes, gross practical jokes, slapstick comedy, one-liners, adults acting foolishly, over-stereotyping, and loads of fart jokes. There is also copious amounts of shocking visual humor including Dan Patrick climbing a rope in disgustingly tight shorts, Saquille O’Neil stuck in a child’s play house, a dazed school bus driver using a showroom display toilet, and high school male cheerleaders washing cars. Did I forget to mention the overzealous frat-boys that Sandler and his gang tick-off?
What we have here is a mess. It’s not a complete disaster mess, but pretty close to it. There are a handful of moments that are sure to produce a few chuckles...maybe a belly laugh or two. But they are far and few between – the bad far outweighs the good, as they say. It’s hard to overcome a wave lame jokes and a thin plot.
Should you rent or buy Grown Ups 2? That depends on how you feel about wasted time. If you have an extra hour or two to burn and are looking for a few sporadic chuckles, then give it a spin. If your expectations are low, you’ll probably derive some mild amusement. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and find something else to do with your time.
PG-13 for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/GU2c.jpg[/img]Stunning. Absolutely stunning. There’s really no other way to describe the 1:85:1 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer delivered by Sony Pictures. It’s simply gorgeous and delivers in every way possible. The film’s image is crammed with amazingly sharp details and shocking levels of clarity. Freckles, stray hairs, specs of dirt, stitches and folds on clothing, and other fine details are all on full – razor sharp – display. At times, clarity and detail are almost too good with a few notable moments where make-up is clearly visible on actor David Spade’s face. The animated buck appearing at the beginning film is also visually jaw-dropping. Colors throughout the movie are pleasingly neutral and skin tones never stray from natural. Blacks are inky and deep, shadow detail is spot-on, and contrast is excellent. There’s never of moment where artifacts or blocking are evident and crush is non-existant. Bravo, Sony. Bravo!!
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news//GU2d.jpg[/img]Grown Ups 2 is presented with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that is routine and serviceable. The vast majority of the film is narrow and centered, relying heavily on the center channel. The audio’s texture isn’t particularly rich or warm. Of course this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for a dialog driven comedy. On the plus side, dialog is robust and intelligible throughout the film. The surrounds are typically used to deliver subtle ambient sounds like wind, birds, traffic, and chatter and do so to a pleasing and enveloping effect. There are a few moments where louder effects associated with the movement of objects find their way into the rears (and, also, across the front sound stage). The presentation definitely perks up when music is introduced during scene transitions and at a party near the end of the film. During these moments the front left and right channels burst to life with depth and life, widening the presentation.
• Deleted Scenes
•The Feder House
•Mr. Spade's Wild Ride
•Shaq and Dante: Police Force
Oh, what could have been! Adam Sandler has given us some real comedy gems over the years. Here we have an honor roll of comedians and actors that, based on names alone, are intriguing to say the least. Unfortunately, Grown Ups 2 completely misses its target with a resounding thud. Bad jokes...predictable situations...and juvenile behavior. That pretty much sums it up. If you’re looking for a total veg-out film with a few laughs, then give Grown Ups 2 a try. It does have a moment or two that induce a chuckle. Worst case scenario is that you’ll treat yourself to an amazingly sharp and detailed image presentation. Yup, that’s worst case... Otherwise, spare yourself and find something more productive to do with your time. You won’t be missing much.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Written by: Fred Wolf, Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 5, 2013
Buy Grown Ups 2 Blu-ray on Amazon