"Grown Ups 2" Remains The Year's Most Ironic Title Review

We live in a world where a new Adam Sandler movie causes as much panic as the release of violent footage out of Syria or Egypt. Why is this? A deluge of poor-quality features and the seeming inability to cash in on whatever good-will garnered by arthouse films like Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. While I haven’t harbored any hatred for the guy, I certainly don’t actively seek out his features. I do, however; adore You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, so there’s that.

I was immediately disappointed by Rob Schneider not returning for the sequel, but whatever, his wife was pregnant at the time, apparently, so priorities are priorities. The rest of the company’s back, though and they’ve brought Shaquille O’Neal in on the fun. For whatever reason. Shaq Diesel himself.

After moving his family back to his hometown, Lenny (Sandler) realizes that there’s no such thing as a simpler life. Mayhem and hijinx ensue. It’s really not that terrible a flick. The comedy is centered around each of the primary leads’ strengths for the most part. Kevin James continues to play the improbable role of “fat guy married to hottie,” in this case, Maria Bello. Salma Hayek and Maya Rudolph round out the rest of the wives’ contingent. I’ve never been much of a fan of Rudolph, but Hayek is always welcomed, as is Bello.

The jokes do wear thin a bit. After the fifth or sixth joke about James’ kid being a complete moron, it really gets old. Thankfully, the absurdity and ridiculousness of Nick Swardson helps break up the monotony. Steve Buscemi and Colin Quinn popping up also works in the film’s favor.

It’s difficult watching Sandler and the rest of these former comedic heavyweights work with such relatively stale material. I like these dudes, but I think it’d be more interesting to see them all make appearances on something like Louie or maybe Maron. The problem is that this kind of narrative could be extremely funny and poignant if it was directed by someone like Mark Pellington or David Gordon Green. Basically, if the film was an older take on American Reunion perhaps? I think Peter Dante, who pops up in essentially every Sandler movie to date would thrive under the direction of Green.

Overall, the flick isn’t bad, it just runs a tad overlong and isn’t the funniest movie ever made. With such a group of talented comics in one place, it’d be cool to see them all firing on all cylinders, making a comedy for the ages. We’ll just have to settle for Grown Ups 2, I guess, which isn’t the worst thing that could happen to these heavyweights after all.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

A series of deleted scenes, featurettes and more that add to the silliness that naturally occurs when a gaggle of comedy heavyweights get together. There’s also a feature dedicated to the construction of the Feder House, which is actually pretty neat. There are also trailers for some flicks including White House Down and After Earth, a movie I feel bad about not seeing.

"Grown Ups 2" is on sale November 5, 2013 and is rated PG13. Comedy. Directed by Dennis Dugan. Written by Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf, Tim Herlihy. Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James.

Robert Ottone • Staff Writer

A natural bon vivant in love with cigars, finery and luxurious booze, SelfieRob aims to make light of the world around him while living the party boy lifestyle. From the Hamptons to NYC and beyond, SelfieRob lives life to the fullest.


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