In the very first scene of Grown Ups 2, Lenny (Adam Sandler) awakens inside his suburban home to find a deer casually hanging out in his bedroom. When his wife Roxanne (Salma Hayek) notices the beast, her screams cause the deer to nervously urinate all over Lenny’s face. Following this, the deer runs wildly through the house, peeing on another family member and wreaking havoc. That’s just the first few minutes of this rancid film. And right before the end credits begin to roll, Lenny farts while in bed with Roxanne. This is about all you need to know about Grown Ups 2, the lousy follow-up to 2010′s disappointing but somehow still successful Grown Ups. Things are no better between the scenes that bookend the film, spotlighting Lenny and friends Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade) aimlessly moving from place to place, leading to dumb jokes and tired slapstick that’s never actually funny. Even Rob Schneider was unwilling to clear his schedule to star in this dreck. Ponder that for a second…
A lot of scorn can be tossed at Sandler’s output over the past decade, but at least movies like Jack and Jill had an actual plot, adhering to a coherent structure complete with a beginning, middle and end. Grown Ups 2, on the other hand, literally has no plot or story. It’s a string of vignettes, none of which are tied together in any way resembling a narrative. There are actually three credited screenwriters, which is fucking retarded, as Grown Ups 2 is just a random showcase of celebrity cameos and staggeringly terrible CGI. For crying out loud, it’s so bad that it has actually prompted me to reference fucking Jack and Jill as a positive example!
There is no semblance of realism to anything that occurs throughout Grown Ups 2. The film is set up as something of a “day in the life” tale, yet nothing is relatable here, with a sense of Hollywood sensationalism hanging over all of the proceedings. For instance, Lenny’s son wants a shot with the hottest girl in school, and manages to win her over with no effort. In another half-formed subplot, Marcus has a son he never knew about, and although the boy is standoffish and arrogant towards his father, the pair suddenly bond without the audience for unknown reasons. Ostensibly the main narrative thread involves Lenny and Roxanne having another kid, but Dugan pays barely any attention to this malarkey, which is given no weight in the grand scheme of things. Grown Ups 2 is all about idiotic skits, after all – expecting logic or humanity from this nonsense is foolhardy.
With its haphazard structure, Grown Ups 2 feels like an episode of Saturday Night Live, especially since SNL alumni are all over the place, with Nick Swardson, Peter Dante, Steve Buscemi, and even Sandler’s wife Jackie making brief appearances. Stretching the ridiculous budget to breaking point (seriously, this crap cost $80 million to produce?!), various other celebrities and pop culture figures show up for no discernible reason. Steve Austin, Jon Lovitz and Shaquille O’Neal are all present, while Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick makes precisely little impact as a frat boy in the background. Astonishingly, the only actor who’s worth a damn is Taylor Lautner, who goes for broke in his cartoonish role of a frat boy. Abandoning his self-seriousness from the Twilight films, Lautner is amusing here, embracing the ridiculousness and essentially parodying himself, showing that he does have potential as a comedic performer. But it’s a serious problem that Taylor Lautner is the only funny one in this movie, scoring more laughs that Chris Rock. What the fuck?!
The order of the day in Grown Ups 2 is unfunny pratfalls, juvenile sight gags, and repeated returns to Eric’s ability to burp, sneeze and fart in quick succession. It climaxes with an ’80s party, which involves a brawl between the party guests and the frat boys, spurred on by local law enforcement, who don’t seem to care about the myriad of assaults occurring all around them. In the hands of a comedic team who actually know a thing about orchestrating hilarious nonsense, this might have been amusing. But it was handled by the tone deaf Dennis Dugan, a veteran of Sandler awfulness, who makes the whole thing strangely boring and lousy. Grown Ups 2 has no rhythm or cohesion, but above all no purpose – there is no story, the characters remain unchanged by the end, and there are no satisfying laughs to be had. It’s one of Sandler’s worst, and that’s saying something. It should be fucking banned.
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