Here’s a suggestion for moviegoers in the unfortunate position of watching Grown Ups 2. Bring a scorecard.
Turn it into a game to pass the time, and keep tabs on various types of bodily-function humor. All of the favorites are here – urination, flatulation, defecation, belching, vomiting, blunt hits to the crotch, sweaty fat guys in tight clothing – and many of them make more than one appearance, as a sort of greatest-hits compilation of low-brow hilarity.
Those who find the sight of such things uproarious will find plenty of amusement in this latest vehicle for Adam Sandler, which is a follow-up to his 2010 comedy about middle-aged arrested development.
The loosely constructed plot has Lenny (Sandler) moving his family back to his hometown in order for his children to grow up around the kids of his childhood friends — Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade). But as they start to hang out together again, the buddies engage in various hijinks and set bad examples by falling into their old patterns of immaturity and rebellion.
Those of us who implore Sandler to move on to something new are wasting our collective breath, because he’s not listening. At age 46, he’s still fond of the same juvenile toilet humor that built his now-diminishing fan base in the first place. And now he’s determined to squeeze every last drop out of his formula.
The cast is peppered with familiar names and faces, some of which return from the first film. Many of Sandler’s frequent collaborators make appearances, and his go-to director, Dennis Dugan, likewise is along for the ride. Some of the cameos offer minor chuckles. And at least Rob Schneider is absent from the ensemble in this installment, so that’s a step in the right direction.
There are sporadic sight gags and one-liners that hit the mark, and a climactic party sequence showcases some inspired 1980s costumes. Yet mostly the script feels aimless and desperate, even by its own aggressively sophomoric standards.
Grown Ups 2 is crass without being edgy, and the humor is somehow both vulgar and watered down. The script doesn’t feel as though it was written so much as it was emanated through a burp, sneeze or fart — a combination of which is celebrated on-screen. It certainly doesn’t appear to be conceived by grown-ups.
Rated PG-13, 101 minutes.