Boys will be boys… some longer than others. Grown Ups is the latest offering from comedy legend Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf. Set over the 4th of July holiday weekend, Sandler and his former basketball school buddies, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider are reunited 30 years later at the funeral of their inspirational grade-school basketball Coach. In honour of his memory, these middle-aged amigos venture out to the old lake house they used to frequent with their respective families in tow, to pay their respects to their beloved Coach, and reflect on the good ol’ days. Each marriage, of course, has it’s own problems and typically with this sort of film, the conflicts resolve themselves in true Hollywood happy ever after fashion. The climax of the movie gears towards the penultimate basketball showdown with the guys being challenged to a rematch by their old grade school basketball rivals. A predictable outcome which only just about manages to save itself (by the skin of it’s teeth) to not fall into complete gooey, schmaltzy over-sentimentality.

Cheesier than a packet of Wotsits, and admittedly filled to the brim with brainless humour, it’s just so hard to NOT actually enjoy watching this ‘remember the time we…’ movie. For such a stellar comedy line-up, reminiscent of a Best of Saturday Night Live sketch show, the film does fall short of being as funny as it potentially could have been. It really should have been so much funnier. Being brutally honest,  the plot is non-existent, relies heavily on gross-out jokes (hurray if you like boob and penis humour) and James’s endearingly lovable performance to carry the weight of this SNL bulk. In spite of the shallow soul-searching and meandering storytelling, it’s still an enjoyable, light-hearted comedy which manages to make you laugh out loud and entertain in places. I don’t care what the critics say – a guilty pleasure it may be, but this is a comedy still worth seeing.

The chemistry and camaraderie between the guys is as natural as it gets. Unlike most tired bromance comedies, this one doesn’t feel contrived and and the lighter parts in the movie, when they kick-back for more “guy time” away from their wives, really make for some of the most enjoyable moments overall. I won’t lie. The selling point, for me, is the simple fact that these comedy legends are all onscreen together. Given that I’m a huge fan of both Chris Rock and David Spade, I didn’t expect to end up hating this movie, and I don’t, despite the negative reception it’s received. My main gripe with these particular two is that they didn’t get enough air time, especially Rock. The leading ladies fared far worse , however, barely scraping together any notable appearances worth mentioning.

This is of course Sandler’s movie and the ongoing joke about his character being ‘Mr Hollywood’ and being all about him is true. If you’re a fan of any of these comedy giants then I think you’ll enjoy this. If not, proceed with caution as this will really only appeal to comedy nostalgists…

With a running time of 102 minutes, the “generous” 2 DVD extras on offer are just about worth a mention: Laughing is Contagious and The Cast of Grown Ups are nice little featurettes sure to please most, but it would have been nice if a compilation of outtakes/deleted scenes had have been put together too. Afterall, you’d expect to see this with such a critically acclaimed cast! Visually, the DVD transfer is just gorgeous and the golden huey tones are perfect for this feel-good nostalgic film.

Save this for a Sunday afternoon and kick back, relax and enjoy this fugly friend-fest with the family for all it’s worth! It’s not Sandler’s best movie, but it’s by no means his worst.

Hasta-la-vista, Chicken Shiznits.


Grown Ups is available to buy on DVD now or click here to rent.