Review: 'Grown Ups 2' no easier to watch than No.1
This film publicity image released by Columbia Pictures shows, from left, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in a scene from "Grown Ups 2." (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Tracy Bennett)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It would be dishonest to call "Grown Ups 2" the most repellent high-profile comedy in recent memory. But that's largely because few moviegoers have memories kind enough to have already erased 2010's "Grown Ups" — which offered almost every loathsome quality of this installment, plus Rob Schneider.
Adam Sandler returns as Lenny, a Hollywood player who since the first film has moved his family to his rural hometown, where the kids can bike to school and Dad gets plenty of Guy Time with pals Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock), and Marcus (David Spade). Happily, this film's conception of male friendship is less reliant on insults and abuse than its predecessor, and doesn't need to paint the men's wives as shrews in order to give the motley bunch something in common.
This film publicity image released by Columbia Pictures shows, from left, Kevin James, David Spade, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in a scene from "Grown Ups 2." (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Tracy Bennett)
Which is not at all to say that the humor has matured. The opening scene, in which a deer wanders into Lenny's house, offers two separate occasions in which the beast rears back on hind legs to urinate on someone; the second goes on long enough to suggest someone has a fetish to indulge. Throughout, gags are cartoonishly broad and afforded so little time for setup and delivery we seem to be watching less a story than a catalog of tossed-out material.
Set on the last day of school, the script follows as Lenny commandeers his kids' bus (the driver, played by Nick Swardson, is high on pills) and, after dropping them and their schoolmates off, makes a day of it with his hooky-playing pals. Together they pioneer new bodily functions (Eric's "Burp-snarting," which may sound more amusing than it is) and fantasize about those they don't get enough of: Attending their daughters' dance rehearsal, they can't stop gawking at an instructor the credits helpfully dub "Hot Dance Teacher."