Written by: Adam Sandler & Fred Wolf, Tim Herlihy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph
When one’s predecessor contains the quality of a wet fart, the expectations for any sort of follow-up must be on the floor. This gave Grown Up 2 the opportunity to be somewhat redeemable by taking an excellent cast of talented individuals and doing something remotely funny or meaningful. To no surprise, this sequel, with barely any expectations to boot, ended up being even worse with its message being destroyed by its horrid decision on jokes.
Now back in his hometown, Lenny (Adam Sandler) spends more time with his longtime friends and feels closer to his family. With the potential for a fourth addition to the family, he begins to get nervous as his oldest son begins to get bullied by someone at school. The two confront bullies from the past and present as Lenny’s other friends confront their pasts as well.
It still stuns me to this day how bad these movies are to the point I refuse to believe they’re real. Like how is it possible for such talented people to be so lazy in their storytelling? Misguided cannot even sum it up when it can be wholly summarized as mean-spirited and directly contradictory. This film finds itself in a place where it wants to say something insightful about bullying seeing as it impacts people at a young age and can continue even when reaching adulthood. Something noble to take on but this film cannot and did not refuse the itch to make jokes throughout the feature that essentially serves as bullying. It would be one thing for these jokes to exist in the feature, but when making an argument against the very behavior of your protagonists and we’re meant to root for them, it just demonstrates a complete lack of any sort of thoughtful storytelling.
Outside of providing yet another vacation and an incredibly easy paycheck for these stars, it baffles me to think of what could bring these incredibly talented people together to make such a disposable piece of garbage like this film. The likes of Salma Hayek and Maya Rudolph have been in questionable fare before but this absolutely hits the bottom of the barrel for both of them as whatever their agents could find them for easy money. The lines they receive could not be saved by their acting, which definitely hits a new low and that’s before getting to the four main leads, who commit the biggest crimes of them all, doing this nonsense again.
Outside of Lenny and his son’s bullies, the biggest antagonist comes in the form of this fraternity who seek to take over where these middle-aged men rules back in the day. From the right to hang out by some lake to simply existing, this feature shows the destructive nature of these fraternities but in the most idiotic way possible. It all results in a climactic all-out fight between this older generation of people and the fraternity bros in an ultimate culmination of excrement this feature puts out there for people to consume. In a sense, no one can be blamed for the existence of this feature but the audience who went out to see it. Adam Sandler has some sort of hold over people where we’re willing to sift through all the nonsense in the hope he’ll deliver something meaningful. It makes something like Uncut Gems so jarring to see the brilliance he can do as an artist but he continually returns to the well to make absolute dreck like this film. Continually frustrating to the highest degree.
An unadulterated tragedy and a reminder that Sandler, at times, just doesn’t care about his audience member’s intelligence. It feels like an experiment of how many poop jokes he can insert into a movie and people would still come and watch. Another con job by this man and anyone who sought out this film for some ungodly reason got exactly what they asked for by thinking these brilliant comedic voices could do something special when pooling together their talent. We have financed this nonsense with the success of the first one and continue to get exactly what we deserve with the number of people who went out of their way to see the follow-up. An utter tragic excuse of a movie and one that will remain a stain on cinema.