'Grown Ups 2' doesn't amount to much
The gang's all here for “Grown Ups 2,” Adam Sandler's latest lowbrow make-work project for all the ex-jocks, jockcasters, “Saturday Night Live” has-beens and other hangers-on he keeps on payroll.
It's another pointless romp through Sandlerland — where the women are buxom, the kids have catch-phrases and the jokes are below average.
Basically, the sequel to the hit “Grown Ups” finds our Hollywood pal Lenny Feder (Sandler), his wife (Salma Hayek) and brood moved back to his home town. That's where childhood pal Eric (Kevin James) runs a body shop, Kurt (Chris Rock) is a cable guy, and Marcus (David Spade) has just learned he's a deadbeat dad.
We follow these clowns through a long day — the last day of school for their kids — as they reminisce at Kmart (where Tim Meadows ended up), feud with frat boys (Taylor Lautner is their martial arts-mad leader) at the quarry that's the town swimmin' hole, and find other ways to not quite grow up by throwing an '80s-themed party.
The big message here: “You can't back down from a bully.”
The jokes? Broad variations of “the dozens,” guys giving each other the business in elaborate, limp insults. Farts, belches, poop and pee gags, guys leering at cheerleaders, women leering at male cheerleaders all have their place. As does every comic, from ancient Norm Crosby to creaking Colin Quinn.
It's dated, it aims low and Sandler is, as always, self-aware enough to get that he's pandering.
At least the guy's out there, stimulating his little corner of the economy. As deep as it gets in “Grown Ups 2,” you know the fellow loves his movies to be “shovel-ready.”
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.