You have to admit Adam Sandler is the master at getting his buddies together to work on a project. It's obvious they are having fun working together making one of these "buddy" pictures, but in Grown Ups, the latest of these ongoing endeavors, the fun that might've been going on between takes, does not transfer to the screen.
In Grown Ups we have a group of five guys who once played on a championship Jr. High basketball team (must've been a short bench, as no mention is made of any other boys on the team). They come together after decades apart for the funeral of their beloved coach, and catch up with each other.
Lenny (Sandler), is an agent in L.A., with a very hot wife (Salma Hayek), two bottled water drinking, beyond bratty sons, and a little girl who seems to have collected all the naiveté of which the boys seem devoid. Eric (Kevin James) is a guy that also has the wife (Maria Bello) and the two kids (one of which is four and still breast feeding). Kurt (Chris Rock) is an under-appreciated house-husband with a working wife (Maya Rudolph), two kids, and a horror of a mother-in-law. Marcus (David Spade) is a womanizing loser with no wife, no kids, and no real character definition, either. Finally, Rob (Rob Schneider) has a wife that is over twenty years his senior (Joyce Van Patten), and grown daughters that stop by to add eye candy to the festivities.
What passes for the plot is right out of Disney 101, get all these folks together in an isolated cabin near a lake to bond and evolve into better people. What ends up happening is one dumb one liner after another that makes you wonder just what target audience they were going for in this slop?
If they wanted to enthrall the kids they wouldn't have cast a group of pre-teens that have all the personality of a decaying wall, and given them more to do.
If they were going for the young adults, they wouldn't have done lines that date the film's stars and the movie's screenwriters. Like when Kurt compares his mother-in-law to Idi Amin, an icon of the 80's, but now about as oft heard as Eydie Gorme!
If they were going for the older movie goers, they wouldn't have peppered the film with so much silliness that you wonder if the characters are kidding with each other on screen, or kidding the audience with the idea that they ever thought that this thing would be anything but Red Box fodder for the months ahead?.
Causing more groans than giggles, more head shaking than head nodding, and basically giving you no bang for your buck, to me, Grown Ups could've used more time in development.