You've probably seen the poster for Grown Ups, with its stars—Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Kevin James—barreling down a waterslide. Or is the verb I'm looking for "coasting"? Grown Ups begins with a flashback to a 1978 boys' basketball championship, where the starting five look like 12-year-old versions of the aforementioned lineup. We catch up with the teammates 30 years later, reunited for Coach's funeral in their New England hometown (helpfully identified onscreen as "New England"). Entrusted with Coach's ashes, the boys and their families head for their old summer-getaway lodge, where they sit in Adirondack chairs by a perpetually gold-shimmering lake. The guest list includes the urn, Rock's stock-comic mother-in-law, a dog with snipped vocal cords, five men, four wives, and 10 kids. This small army becomes a gridlock of gags and plotlines, with conflicts and assigned traits dropped and hastily retrieved as needed. Maya Rudolph is the only capable comedienne among the wives; the men are either unfunny or, if given fewer lines, useless. Though the uncynical goodwill that accompanies Sandler's work makes footing this vacation bill less enraging than the toxic Couples Retreat, it's one of those Sandler movies where the inevitable Steve Buscemi cameo passes for the highlight. While Sandler has never trafficked in epigrammatic wit, there's a difference between, say, Billy Madison's "Of course I peed my pants—everyone my age pees their pants," and this lazy stuff—the difference between smart-dumb and plain-dumb.
Dennis DuganAdam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya RudolphAdam Sandler, Fred WolfAdam Sandler, Jack GiarraputoSony Pictures