Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Grown Ups

Grown UpsCinema Monolith: 1/10
IMDb: 5.8/10
The Arizona Republic: *½ out of 5

Released on June 25, 2010
Rated PG-13
102 minutes

Directed by Dennis Dugan

Written by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf

Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Joyce Van Patten, Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Dan Patrick, Blake Clark, Norm MacDonald, Dennis Dugan

Good lord, was this ever a shockingly unfunny mess! An absolute dismal excuse for a comedy that had me regretting the decision to watch it mere minutes after I’d started. Forced, false, overboard, typical, phony, dull, and filled with cheap laughs and cheap shots at others that had no relation to the story whatsoever. The screenplay itself—if there ever was one—seemed to be pasted together from remnants of other low-end comedies, and Dennis Dugan directed the whole ordeal as if it were a prison sentence.

Sadly, what might’ve been a decent, heartwarming, and humorous story—after thirty years apart, five childhood friends gather for a weekend reunion at an idyllic lake house, with their disparate families in tow—was killed by misplaced sentimentality, a barrage of one-liners and comments that seemed ad-libbed by a five-man comedy act, and no sense of what was true-to-life and what wasn’t. I could give you a hundred examples why this film stunk, but here’s one, in a nutshell, that perfectly defined it all: Kevin James with a KFC bucket on his head.

Yep, that was it…that’s all there was to the gag, and we were expected to laugh. Want more? How about a joke I didn’t even understand, and had to have explained to me later: James is ready to water ski, Rob Schneider gives the boat some gas, it rears up, and the outboard motor falls off. I seriously had no idea what happened…I assumed the boat hit a rock. No, it was a fat joke, at James’ expense…and he’s not even fat, for chrissake!

About the only thing I got a kick out of was watching, of all things, the editing of scenes, and noticing how some moments following jokes seemed to drag on too long…as if they were waiting for anticipated audience laughter to die down before moving on. Which was unfortunate, because I rarely laughed, and this extension of shots only helped to create uncomfortable silences and to needlessly expand the length of the film.

So, I’m giving you fair warning: steer clear of this breech birth of a film at all costs; there is nothing remotely comedic to be found anywhere, and the depth of stupidity it sunk to was enough to give me a raging case of the bends. And in case my generous rating baffles you, this earned one star only because I really liked that house on the lake, and would’ve loved to spend a summer there myself, and I really love Maria Bello, who deserved much, much better than this.  (1/10)

Grown Ups

6 comments on “Grown Ups

  1. oneluckiegirl

    I’m easily entertained! It’s called a MOVIE, it’s entertainment. Who would allow 100 snakes on a plane? How many orphans gather together randomly before dinner and sing for their supper? How many zombies fall in love and change the world?

    At least you admit that you like the house on the lake! I think someone needs to go fishing and have a few brewski’s with his man pals!


    • Todd Benefiel

      Well Deb, I think you’re going to have to lambaste me on this one (and feel free to do so at work tomorrow!): the KFC bucket moment, the water skiing scene, and the sequence at the water park were, for me, microcosms of the complete idiocy and lack of common-sense filmmaking I thought this film possessed!

      If you create a world, live by the rules of the world. Snakes on a plane? Sure, because snakes exist, and planes exists, and bad guys are quite capable of putting snakes on these planes. Zombies falling in love? In a zombie world, yes! But a high-wire water park ride where you dangle precariously over dangerous terrain, with no safety features for adults or kiddies, and which could end with you either falling to your death or slamming into a solid wall? At a water park in today’s lawsuit-happy world? Not a chance!

      Okay, maybe I do need to go fishing and have some cold ones while relaxing at a house on a lake. Just not with those five guys, please!


  2. oneluckiegirl

    Okay, I will concede to you this victory. But, KNOW THIS: I can out-fish you ANY day! HA!!!


    • Todd Benefiel

      Hey, that’s fantastic, Deb: while I sit on the lake house deck and enjoy a six pack, you can catch me some fish for dinner, and being one luckie GIRL, you can then go to the kitchen and cook them for me.

      And by the way, this outrageously sexist comment was brought to you courtesy of your friend at Cinema Monolith.


      • oneluckiegirl

        Evidently, you have not read THE STORY OF THE LITTLE RED HEN. But no worries, you can clean up the kitchen.


      • Todd Benefiel

        Little Red Hen? Sorry, I steer clear of books involving feminist brainwashing techniques.


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