The premise of this cinematic cruelty revolves around five former teammates from a cup-winning 1978 basketball team hooking up for a reunion three decades later in honour of their recently deceased coach - who presumably died of shock while reading the script for Grown Ups. They all mess around on a ranch reminiscing about the old days, reliving their youth and indulging in various pratfalls while their kids remain indoors playing video games. Predictably, there’s a basketball rematch around the corner - peppered with mind-numbingly obvious japes to do with the creaking limbs of the middle aged men. There’s also a smattering of shamelessly shambolic sequences featuring the various underdeveloped characters - who are mostly not worth describing - falling face first into poo, cake, billboards and anything in their way.
Adam Sandler is fairly subdued as the lead Lenny, a Hollywood talent agent who is under the thumb of his fashion designer wife Roxanne (Hayek) and their brattish kids. Chris Rock and David Spade also make no impression in their near-nondescript roles as a cookery-loving father and single womaniser respectively. Rob Schneider emerges with some dignity intact at least, as his performance as a wig-wearing, granny grabbing vegan almost raises a smile on a couple of occasions amid the joke drought. Of course, the character is mainly a cipher for a series of increasingly tired visual gags revolving around his toupee blowing off whenever a wind is around. How original.
Littered with plenty of embarrassingly noticeable product placements, Grown Ups appears to have been written and made by people who have yet to grow anything remotely akin to a sense of humour. Even if Martin Lawrence had somehow snuck on set, guzzled a few Red Bulls and hijacked every scene with his trademark feral gurning, it wouldn’t have made the movie any worse. A damning indictment for a film that’s about as dignified as Salma Hayek’s character when she emerges from a toilet cubicle with a trail of loo paper stuck to her shapely derriere.
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