Status: In theaters (opened 6/25/10)
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Written By: Adam Sandler & Fred Wolf
Cinematographer: Theo van de Sande
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek
As is probably obvious from the content on this site, I see a fair amount of movies. My wife and I see so many, in fact, that it is apparently possible for us to go through withdrawal. And so it came to pass that on a recent vacation, about 13 days into it, finding ourselves with the first free afternoon of the trip, we decided we’d go see a movie. This had a few benefits: as we were in Illinois in July, it was incredibly hot and humid out, and so the theater would give us a nice excuse to sit in the air conditioning for a couple of hours during the most unbearable part of the day. We could also get popcorn for lunch, which is one of our favorite things to do—and before you’re tempted to let me know about the calorie or fat or whatever other content of such a meal, I’m aware, and it’s actually not that bad: even a huge tub of popcorn at a movie theater with butter drizzled all over it is like 1300 calories, and split 2 ways that’s really not that bad of a lunch. But I digress. It also seemed like a nice idea because, as much as we love our family and friends, spending the previous 2 weeks driving all over the Midwest to visit as many of them as possible was exhausting, so having a little time to ourselves in the peace and quiet of a dark theater was about as inviting an escape as I could imagine.
The one thing we didn’t consider, unfortunately, was that there wasn’t shit playing. Our options were basically to sit in a theater full of children seeing an animated flick (Toy Story 3 or Despicable Me), or to try to convince the other to succumb to our respective guilty pleasures: mine for 1980s nostalgia (Predators), hers for bad comedies (Grown Ups). And marriage being what it is, we “agreed” on the latter, and this is all really my extremely roundabout way of trying to explain to you, and myself, how in the hell I ended up sitting there watching this movie in the first place. There is one side-story here that’s sort of worth telling, too: a bug in my iPhone’s Showtimes app led to an amusing listing of “nearby” theaters from where I sat in my parents’ house in Plainfield, Illinois (at right; click to enlarge).
And honestly, that single image brought me more chuckles than did the entire experience of sitting through Grown Ups. It’s one of those movies where it’s impossible for me to even picture the writers sitting together and thinking that what they’ve put on the page is actually humorous, much less expecting an audience of people to laugh at the finished product that will come from it. And yet, laugh they did: the half a dozen other people who went to the Showplace 16 in Naperville for that Thursday noontime showing were absolutely laughing their asses off. I’m just out of touch with middle America, I guess. These are, presumably, the same people who flocked to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop a year and a half ago. They’re people I feel pretty confident saying I have nothing in common with.
So this whole post has been—as I’m sure is sort of clear by now—an excuse to convince myself that I’ve lived up to my goal of writing about every movie I see in the theaters, and yet not actually having to write about the movie Grown Ups, which I didn’t really want to see and kind of wish I hadn’t. It’s basically a retarded version of The Big Chill; its biggest attempts at laughs come from Kevin James falling out of a pool, or falling into a lake, or pissing on himself, or otherwise just being fat and stupid. Oh, and there’s also this brilliant gag having to do with Rob Schneider’s daughters: two are hot, and one has a mullet. Get it?
What I really don’t understand here, though, is Adam Sandler. The guy has shown in recent years that he can actually act (Reign Over Me) and that he can be actually funny while actually acting, too (Funny People). And yet he keeps coming back to what I suppose should be considered his bread and butter, these mindless, unfunny, surprisingly crowd-pleasing phoning-it-in movies. More power to him, I guess. Next time I think I’ll just push harder for Predators.