Went to see the new Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups which if I wanted to trash I guess I could have called Groan Ups or Thrown Ups except it wasn't that bad. Sandler made his name on playing young adults with a juvenile heart (and mental capacity) which won him a bit of success, yet it was playing up his soft mushy side that really got him over with The Wedding Singer. Over the years he's tried to be more dramatic (like every successful comic) developing a mildly disturbed moon face to anger persona. With Grown Ups, Sandler pools his talents with a slew of other ex-SNLers (Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, that Colin guy that used to do Weekend Update, Tim Meadows) and worthy stand alone talents (Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Steve Bucemi) to make a slightly bland family comedy.
As far as family comedies go, Grown Ups is pretty good. Sure, the film drowns in sappy sentimentality a third of the time and there are plenty of predictable jokes like the gassy Granny or the hot girls that came from an ugly Dad. At the same time there is a feeling of genuine comraderie (which probably is helped by the SNL alum status) and all performers comic timing is on point. Schneider even gets to play against type, channeling his obnoxiousness into a touchy feely character. And there are bits of laugh out loud humor amid the overbearing heart warming nature of the flick.
Midway through the story loses some cohesiveness trying to balance the multitude of characters and subplots. In some ways Grown Ups is reminscent of those Burt Reynolds movies he used to make back when he was a big star, when he'd get a bunch of his buddies together under the loose idea of "Lets make a movie together" and just have a thinly sketched beginning and end while throwing random pieces in the middle. Still, Grown Ups manages to pull things together at the end to have a satisfying finish.
Grown Ups is probably the most family friendly movie Sandler has made yet. Of course with this theme the normally off the wall or raunchy vistas these guys usually call home seem neglected. Which is why the most enjoyable parts are when the five guys (Sandler, Spade, Rock, Schneider and James) are alone together, they're allowed to unleash some of their harsher sided humor with it still considered to be "just joshin". Like when all four of the guys riff on Schneider for referring to corn as maize throughout the film is funny.
The sheer amount of talent involved manages to elevate Grown Ups to a cut above the standard family movie fare. Just a little bit. Timeliness helps too, the 4th of July time period of the movie fits perfectly with, well, today. Grown Ups won't rock your world, but it will make you comfortable and give some good laughs along the way. Or maybe it will rock your world if you dig the soundtrack, I haven't heard that much J.Geils Band in a movie since Fright Night!