Review: 'Grown Ups 2' (I Believe In Jobs)
For a film about facing irrelevance, Grown Ups 2 isn't fighting for a place in the race. Lenny (writer/producer Adam Sandler) has happily transitioned to his hometown following the move at the end of Grown Ups. Chris Rock is a cable guy, Kevin James fixes cars, Rob Schneider is missing and David Spade is an aging lothario in a confusingly large house. Everyone’s so happy about the last day of school they’re throwing a town-sized party…that Taylor Lautner’s fraternity is going to crash. A deer pees on Sandler, Shaquille O'Neal pees in a pool and two teens fake-pee beer to look like coeds at a party. The crowd was mostly quiet. I felt hair grow.
I don’t blame anyone for being disappointed with the film’s apparent lack of effort, laughs or imagination, but after 5 minutes Grown Ups 2 morphed into a cattle call for less-remembered SNL alums. That’s when I realized Adam Sandler isn’t the “King of Comedy,” he’s the god of late-career employment.
He’s got a reputation as a “nice guy” and a laundry list of flesh-and-blood pals to rival Kim Kardashian twitter following. Reports indicate Grown Ups was more lucrative than most of the Adam Sandler films that preceded it, and if you’re unfortunate enough to have seen it, you could have felt insulted that Sandler was sticking his hand in the cookie jar again, especially after he lampooned his poop-ular comic legacy in Funny People only to continue making the crap he spoofed.* But Grown Ups 2 isn’t a comedy: it’s the entertainment equivalent of the Works Progress Administration, and I love FDR too much to hate it through and through—even if I hate it pretty hard.
*Thanks to colleague Dennis Willis for describing how any crap comedy Sandler makes after Funny People will resemble the bad ones he made fun of in Funny People, and therefore be a slap to his face. He indeed knows you know he knows.