Frivolous Fun, But These Fathers Don’t Always Know Best
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James,
Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob
Audience: Teenagers to adults
Runtime: 102 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Dennis Dugan
Executive Producer: Barry Bernardi, Tim Herlihy,
Allen Covert, and Steve Koren
Producer: Adam Sandler and Jack
Writer: Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident/Triumph Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000; Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Lenny Feder, played by the affable Adam Sandler, is a successful Hollywood agent married to a beautiful fashion designer, Roxanne (played by Salma Hayek). In their Los Angeles mansion, Lenny’s spoiled children play a violent, shoot ’em up video game while texting their nanny to bring them Godiva hot chocolate. It quickly becomes evident that the Feder family needs a breath of fresh air from the great outdoors.
At Coach Buzzer’s funeral, the gregarious gang introduces each other to their families and pick up right where fifth grade left off as they poke fun at one another’s bad hair, weight gain, and even one friend’s (David Spade’s) resemblance to the Olsen Twins. Eric (played by Kevin James) rolls up in a convertible Cadillac with the family dog in the front seat. After fibbing about his profession, he introduces the others to his gorgeous wife (played by Maria Bello) and two young children, one of whom is gluttonous and retaliatory, and the other 4-years-old and still breastfeeding. Kurt (played by Chris Rock) has two kids of his own and one on the way with his no-nonsense wife Deanne (played by Maya Rudolph). Also among his clan is his boisterous, wise-cracking mother-in-law, Mama Ronzoni (Ebony Jo-Ann), whose role in the movie seems to have been written solely for facilitating superfluous flatulence jokes.
Rob (Rob Schneider), a sensitive, serene, maize-loving hippie, introduces everyone to his seventy-something wife, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten). Throughout the movie, their passionate love life is alluded to and subtly demonstrated, starting with an awkward “kiss” in which their tongues seemingly dance with one another without touching.
David Spade’s character Marcus (is the only bachelor in the bunch who, out of all of the men, has the most growing up to do as he tries to set up shots of alcohol for his non-compliant buddies, flirts with Rob’s attractive teenage daughters, and dances with a beer bottle while his married counterparts sway to the music of a soft pop song.
Inside the chapel, a cross is prominently positioned behind the choir loft, and Rob Schneider’s granola character performs an overly dramatic but serious rendition of “Ave Maria” that causes other characters to laugh. No other mention of God, Jesus, church, or the afterlife is made, however.
At the lake house, Lenny laments the fact that his sons and the other children are behind closed doors instead of outside enjoying the grandeur of their surroundings. Literally taking matters into his own hands, he bombards the cabin and returns outside carrying his sons over his shoulders. The other dads follow suit, and some outdoor shenanigans ensue.
Much of GROWN UPS focuses exclusively on the five guys and their humorous commentaries on aging, children and, of course, marriage. These scenes do little to enhance or develop the movie’s already lacking plot, and rather serve as opportunities for the actors to showcase their comedic talent, rooted in years of stand-up performances in nightclubs.
A conflict does occur, however, when a confrontational former basketball opponent, Dickey (played by Colin Quinn), tries to provoke Lenny and his old teammates to a rematch. Lenny resists until the end, when, during the Fourth of July festivities, the two teams reawaken their 30-year-old rivalry.
Despite the frivolous – perhaps forgettable – nature of this movie, with its poorly drawn characters and insubstantial story, it is enjoyable and does contain plenty of heart. Lenny is a man who sees what negative effects privilege and wealth have had on his children, and realizes the benefits of quality family time and discipline. Kurt and his wife are deeply in love, but they learn that the busyness of life shouldn’t get in the way of their intimacy and affection for one another. Eric confesses he was untruthful about his job and is encouraged that what kind of car he drives is no indication of how great a father and husband he is. Rob overcomes his fears of failing in another marriage and acknowledges that every marriage encounters obstacles that are daunting, but not impossible to surmount.
GROWN UPS is a fun movie that ultimately affirms family and highlights the importance of quality time, honesty and sincerity, as well as the value of faithful friends who support and encourage, no matter the circumstance. Some characters hurt themselves by engaging in some stupid activities, however. So, parents should tell their children that such behavior is not advisable for them to copy. Also, some foul language, several sexual innuendoes, brief rear male nudity in two scenes, accidental partial rear female nudity at a water park, some skimpily dressed women, and a scene of drunkenness also warrant caution. Please see the CONTENT section above for more details.
GROWN UPS is full of lowbrow laughs, including lots of slapstick comedy, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Some moral, biblical values, such as marital faithfulness, honesty and maintaining parental authority, are affirmed. Also, violent video games are denounced, while playing outside and partaking in traditional games and pastimes are encouraged and shown to be fun and enjoyable for all ages. Some characters hurt themselves by engaging in stupid activities, however. So, parents should tell their children that such behavior is not advisable for them to copy. Brief foul language, several scenes with alcohol and brief rear nudity also warrant caution. Please check out our reviews of other movies, including classic ones, at movieguide.org.