Film Reviews

GROWN UPS

By • Jun 30th, 2010 •

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Horrible. I watched it through my fingers. It’s the snuff film of comedy.

Screenwriters Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf and director Dennis Dugan owe me and if you see it, owe you, for stealing 102 minutes from our lives. That’s a big karmic debt Sandler, Wolf and Dugan will have to burn off in hell if this movie does great box office.

Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison produced this appalling, lazy, unfunny “comedy”. With Sandler is his hand-picked cast: Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Sandler’s whipping boy, Rob Schneider.

And I do mean whipping-boy*. Sandler slaps Schneider repeatedly. Remember when slap-happy Burt Reynolds used Dom DeLuise as his whipping boy? Schneider’s movie career appears to be solely being in Sandler’s every movie as his “mascot”. And by that, Sandler forces us to accept him. So it is clearly Sandler’s “career tell”. He hates us and this is his way of showing it.

The bond these men have goes way back to their being teammates on a championship middle-school basketball squad. When their beloved coach dies, they meet for his funeral.

Lenny (Sandler) is a fabulously wealthy and powerful Hollywood agent with A-list movie stars as clients. But his vulgar children (one son appears to be black) hate him and bully him. They are like the spoiled children of Louis XIV, the Sun King of France.

Lenny is not married to Angelina Jolie, but the second hottest woman on the planet, Roxanne (Salma Hayek Pinault – who is honoring her billionaire husband François-Henri Pinault by being now known by her married name. He’s the scion of a French family whose fortune exceeds $6 billion and he is the king of a luxury goods empire. Salma married well.)

Roxanne appears to have a daughter who – in my opinion – was the product of a European affair with a male model. And then there is the Asian nanny – Roxanne travels a lot but Lenny doesn’t notice the nanny. Upgrading the servant’s call bell, the kids text the nanny to change channels on their 150-inch Panasonic Plasma flat screen TV.

The “boys” use the death of their coach to hang out during the Fourth of July weekend. The “boys” killed that holiday for me.

Eric (Kevin James) is married to Sally (Maria Bello) who insists on breast-feeding their 4-year old in public. Of course, they have a fat daughter. Eric can do nothing to stop the embarrassing breast-feeding. He thinks it’s cute?

Belittled Kurt (Chris Rock) is a house-husband who is married to ball-busting, pregnant Deanne (Maya Rudolph). We are introduced to Kurt by Deanne calling him an idiot. Kurt is trying to cook dinner but Deanne side-swipes him by bringing home a pizza. Rudolph, who in real life is half Jewish/half Black, has a deep-South black mother, Mama Ronzoni (Ebony Jo-Ann) who blames her farting on Eric’s dog. Mama Ronzoni also hates Kurt for being a no-good free-loader.

Marcus (David Spade) hasn’t left the 80’s, is single and an aging hound-dog.

Then there is Whipping-boy Rob (Schneider) who plays it straight here as a 3-times married man in sexual lust and love with his decades older wife, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten). The cruel jokes amongst the “boys” cumulate in Rob humiliating Gloria. Oh, it was so awful, I moaned aloud in pain through my fingers.

I cannot end this review without revealing the big turning point: Roxanne comes around to loving the weekend when she finds out that she can’t make a rock skip in the lake.

And finally, there is a dreadful cameo by Steve Buscemi, who will be starring in HBO’s 1920’s drama BOARDWALK EMPIRE as gangster kingpin Nucky. His cameo was disgraceful and he has ruined his starring role in BOARDWALK EMPIRE for me. (Steve – if you needed a $1,000 paycheck to pay some bills – I would have paid you to drive me around for a week.)

Now if Sandler had given roles to mean actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Russell Brand we might have had a movie – even without a “script”.

*A whipping boy, in the 1600s and 1700s, was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. Whipping boys were established in the English court during the monarchies of the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries.

Whipping boys were generally of high birth, and were educated with the prince since birth. Due to the fact that the prince and whipping boy grew up together since birth, they usually formed an emotional bond. The life of a whipping boy was usually one of sorrow and pain. Whipping boys were some of the earliest “fall guys”. The other parallel is the scapegoat, a practice in the early Middle East, and one referred to in the Old Testament, where one goat was sacrificed, but another was sent out to bear the burden of sins.

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