Most helpful critical review
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
uneven but with more positives than negatives
on October 4, 2011
When it comes to mainstream Hollywood comedies, we've all too often found that the quality of a cast is in inverse proportion to the quality of the film (i.e., "He's Just Not That Into You"). That being the case, I had expected "Grown Ups" - which features the likes of Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Maria Bello, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, David Spade and Steve Buscemi in starring roles - to be a real cinematic turkey. Imagine my shock, then, when the movie turned out to be, for the most part at least (and we'll get to the qualifiers in a moment), a surprisingly genial, laid-back and likable movie that generates a decent number of laughs without breaking too much of a sweat.
That is a particularly noteworthy achievement given that Sandler, not exactly known for either subtlety or restraint, is not only the star of the film but co-author of the screenplay as well (along with Fred Wolf). But somehow Sandler and company (the movie was directed by Dennis Dugan) have avoided the material-given temptation of going overly-broad with the humor, choosing instead to effectively downplay things most of the way.
Sandler plays Lenny Feder, a hotshot Hollywood agent with a fashion designer wife (Hayek) and two children, who spends a weekend in the country with a group of his basketball-playing chums and their families when the boys' beloved coach from thirty years ago passes away. The guys were all part of a championship team in 1978, and they've come together to honor the man who led them through the winning season, as well as to catch up with what each of them has been doing in the interim.
"Grown Ups" is far from a perfect comedy. For every sharply humorous insight it offers about the responsibility that comes with maturity, there's a crass joke or gross-out sight-gag to counterbalance it. It's almost as if the writers just couldn't help themselves, as if it were a part of their authorial DNA.
That being said, there's much to like about this movie, particularly the performances and the sweetness it conveys when it's NOT being juvenile and crass.