Grown Ups

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

Adam Sandler fans would do well to re-watch “The Wedding Singer” or “Happy Gilmore” rather than suffer through this excruciating mess of gross-out humor, eww-inspiring vulgarity, and soppy sentimentality. My mother always likes me to say something nice, so I’ll mention that Salma Hayek Pinault looks beautiful and the setting is lovely. Chris Rock gets off a few good lines. Adam Sandler doesn’t use his doofy “funny” voice. And eventually, it is all over. But that’s about it. Sandler has always been lazy and his films have devolved from slacker to inert. The increased efforts at injecting “heart” into the storyline just makes the rest of the movie look even more cynical, crass, and condescending to its audience. And that’s not including the misogyny and overall sour attitude toward just about everyone.
grown_ups_poster_01.jpgHere, he plays Lenny Feder, a successful Hollywood agent married to Roxanne (Hayek Pinault), a clothing designer. He returns to his home town for the funeral of the coach who guided his grade school basketball team to a championship. At the funeral, he catches up with his teammates, and they go off together with their families for a few days at a home on the lake. Of course each of them has a situation that is intended to be funny (not) and poignant (really not). Co-stars David Spade, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and Kevin James all look embarrassed to be there, the only flicker of authenticity on screen. Spade, looking hung over even when his character is not, plays the good time guy who never settled down. James is a family man whose biggest problem seems to be that his wife (a slumming Maria Bello) is still breast-feeding their four-year-old. Rock is a stay-at-home father whose pregnant wife (a slumming Maya Rudolph) and mother-in-law think his being a full-time dad is not manly. And Schneider, as always in Sandler films, plays a guy who the designated ewwwww-inducer, with personal and sexual habits designed to gross everyone out. He plays a man whose third wife is an aging hippie (Joyce Van Patten) and whose three daughters show up halfway through, two smokin’ and one funny-looking with a semi-Snooki puff, just like dear old dad. He also has the thankless responsibility of undertaking one of Sandler’s favorite gags — an impaled foot. And a disgusting bunion in loving close-up. What is it with him and feet! At least Tarantino’s foot obsession is on the beautiful toes of Uma Thurman and Diane Kruger.
Lenny, compared to his struggling friends, has little to worry him other than concerns that his children are getting spoiled (they text the nanny to bring them hot cocoa and then reject it when it isn’t Godiva) and being too embarrassed to tell his friends that his kids have a nanny, so he keeps insisting she is just an exchange student and thrusting books at her.
Sandler may have stopped playing boy-men who won’t grow up (hence the title), but as producer and co-screenwriter he is still a film-maker who won’t grow up. The comedy in the movie centers around pubescent sniggering stuck at about the level of a game of “Doctor.” Both adults and young teens are reduced to quivering, slobbering, hysteria by the presence of an attractive member of the opposite sex (conveniently giving us a chance to ogle them, too). But the only one who seems to have a committed relationship that includes a sex life is the one who grosses everyone out with his PDA because his wife is three decades older than he is.
The phony sentiment is no better than the phony comedy. Yeah, yeah, the importance of family and friends and board games over video games. And we are further afflicted with a rematch between our intrepid one-time champions and the guys they beat. Thirty-two years ago. About the last time any of these jokes were fresh.
Then there is the insult humor. Admittedly, there are some funny lines, but further evidence of the movie’s sloppiness is its lack of interest in making some distinction between the affectionate insults that bond people and the hurtful ones that spark anger and truth-telling. Further laughs are expected for the aforementioned impaled foot, injuries requiring a full body cast, and various falls and crotch hits, plus an older lady with an ugly bunion and intestinal distress she blames on the dog. If only we could do the same with the movie.

Parents should know that this film has constant very vulgar humor including crude sexual references and comic situations, characters including children ogle attractive people, a child molestation joke, and some strong language, skimpy clothing and comic partially naked male and female tushes. A mother breast feeds a four-year-old, and the movie has potty humor, jokes about substance abuse, characters who get drunk, graphic violence in computer game, comic violence including crotch hits, an impaled foot, multiple fractures, asad off-screen death, and misogynistic and homophobic humor.
Family discussion: What kept these characters close to each other? What was the difference between the insults they enjoyed and the ones that hurt? Did someone help you the way the coach helped them?
If you like this, try: “The Wedding Singer” and “Happy Gilmore”

Related Tags:



29 Replies to “Grown Ups”

  1. The author of this piece needs to “Grow-up”… Many of the laughs were just an exaggeration of the normal foils of being a kid, and growing up to have kids of your own.
    Look… I go to the movies to laugh, and this movie does that for me – and a lot of other people. If the nicest thing you can say is to praise the one cast member who is a fellow Jesus Freak, you have some growing up to do yourself.

  2. Thanks, Tom. I’m always glad to hear from someone who sees more in a movie than I do, and I am glad you found it funny. A reminder that the rules of this site prohibit insults to anyone who posts here (and in this case your insult happens to be factually inaccurate). If you can find a way to disagree and remain respectful, I welcome your comments at any time. Otherwise, you undercut your argument by making it seem that the only people who find the movie funny are those who do not know how to behave like a grown up.

  3. going tonite !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! can’t wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love all these actors !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIFE MUST BE VERY VERY BORING TO THIS POOR MOM CRITIC WITH NO HUMOR IN HER LIFE !!!!!!!!!!!! VERY SAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Thank you Nell… having a 13 year old girl and an 8 year old boy asking to see every movie that comes out makes your site a godsend. Let Doris and Tom enjoy theirselves at the theater WITHOUT my family there. Keep up the good work!!!

  5. I agree with Lori. I have absolutely no interest in seeing this film. The gross out comedy has become redundant and as far as I am concerned provides no humor that I enjoy. I prefer the family type film humor. In fact, I have never found any Adam Sandler material funny. So, like Lori and her family, my family and I will not be seeing this film. And, even though there are some differences I have with Nell about certain topics, I feel she always does good work and has an excellent website that helps provide vital information for families.

  6. Well, Doris, I thought your comment was pretty funny! I hope you enjoy the film. But let me suggest that you could make a better case for the merits of the movie with a more thoughtful response — and that it always helps to see a movie before commenting on it.

  7. Thanks so much, Lori. And Tim, thanks to you, too — and at least this film is an equal opportunity offender with regard to the nudity and sexual humor.

  8. Sorry to hear that, Juan, but I have to agree. I was surprised by the ticket sales this week; I hope that as word gets around there will be a big drop off.

  9. I liked it and didn’t think anything in it was that inappropriate. I would be perfectly fine letting my 11 and 7 year old children. And I agree with Doris!

  10. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie, Nate, but I have to disagree with you about its appropriateness for children. Kids want to please their parents and do not always tell them when they are uncomfortable. The crude sexual humor in this film may be childish and immature, but that does not mean kids will not find it disturbing.

  11. Neil, your reviews are perfect for Helicopter Parents. Thanks heavens there is somebody out there to make sure that nobody hears the word fart or sees a naked butt until they are the age of 21.

  12. It’s Nell, Jason, not Neil. I appreciate the comment, notwithstanding the sarcasm and inaccuracy. I’m glad to give parents the information they need to make the decisions that are right for their children and their values, and generally find that those decisions are more nuanced and thoughtful than you seem to believe.

  13. Nell, I wish you had a Facebook page – I’d be a fan!
    Have a happy fourth and thanks for making my Netflix subscription useful and entertaining for the whole family 🙂

  14. I love your reviews! I try to screen and/or research certain movies before I allow the kiddos to watch them. Your reviews enable me to do so. You are extrememly thorough! My husband and I are very particular about what we will and will not watch ourselves. So not only are the reviews good for the kiddos but for us as well! Thanks Nell!

  15. My 15 year old saw it with his friend and thought it was funny. Now that I read your review I realize why at that stage of adolescent this was funny for him. I appreciate the review because my younger children were lobbying to see this movie despite the PG13 and having read the review the answer is “NO”. Thank you for your thorough review and keep them coming.

  16. Hi Nell,
    My daughter and nephew, both 11 years old have been wanting to see Grown Ups for a few weeks now. I was hoping that it was something I could take them to. As usual, I checked your review to see what you had to say. After reading your review, the kids will be disappointed, but they won’t be seeing the movie. I very much appreciate your reviews. This is a difficult time for kids and media. They want to grow up so fast, and there are so many parents that don’t say no to movies that aren’t appropriate for our children. It is difficult to be a good parent with so much out there. You have helped me to protect my child for as long as possible. Thank you.

  17. Kathleen, you made my day! It was worth sitting through that awful movie if I was able to advise you to keep a couple of 11 year olds away from it! Many thanks.

  18. This was a great movie and I feel that you wrongly accused it of being bad because you have no humor!

  19. Steve, I am always glad when someone sees more in a movie than I do, so I am glad to hear from you. But it would be so much more helpful if you would tell what you liked about the movie instead of trying to insult me. It is the job of movie critics to write about our own reactions to a movie, and by definition, no opinion will be shared by everyone. And in order to make this site a useful and friendly place for everyone, I do ask people who post comments to refrain from insult and stick to explaining their own opinions.

  20. I actually do have to disagree with you. We saw it in the theater with our 12 yr old and 7 yr old. My 12 yr old is more mature than most teenagers (he has Asperger’s Syndrome) and he laughed out loud through the entire movie. My 7 yr old didn’t really care at the theater but now that we’ve bought it on DVD and watched it again all together last night he found it much funnier. My husband and I are huge fans of Adam Sandler and Kevin James. We all enjoyed it immensely and recommend it regularly to adult friends. The reason being is that every child is different. It’s a parent’s responsibility to allow their children to watch or not watch tv or movies they feel inappropriate. That being said, I constantly check your reviews because this is probably the only time I’ve disagreed with you. 🙂 By the way, I didn’t find much in this movie that isn’t found on most tv shows on the air today. Still, I appreciate your opinion but wanted to share mine, as well. I’m sorry that some of your dissenters didn’t take the time to add their maturity to their posts. I hope that I have not offended you with my response.

  21. Donnabelle, thanks for a great comment! I am always happy when someone sees more in a movie than I do, especially when they are willing to explain their point of view as you did, here. Nothing is more personal than comedy, so I do not expect everyone to agree with my views; my job is to explain my own reaction and let you know what you need to decide whether it is right for your family. I am not much of a Sandler fan but I do love Kevin James. I’m glad you and your family enjoyed it. A lot of people agreed with you; it did very well at the box office.

  22. If your children still believe in the tooth fairy, and you want them to continue, don’t let them see this movie…it spoils it.

Comments are closed.

THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik