Friday, February 11, 2011
#56: Grown Ups
Grown Ups is a 2010 Hollywood comedy about 5 childhood friends who meet many years later on the occassion of the funeral of their high school basketball coach. They extend their reunion to spend some time over a weekend with one another and their families.
Big shot Hollywood agent Lenny (Adam Sandler), furniture store owner Eric (Kevin James), dutiful husband Kurt (Chris Rock), the jobless Marcus (David Spade) and Rob (Rob Schneider) play the five friends all of whom were on the school basketball team and have an old bonding going between them. The fact the guys were meeting those many years later has no impact on their interactions as each pulls the other's legs like they've never been out of touch. As they go about drinking beer and talking, we learn more about these characters and the lives they've been leading. Lenny's wife Roxanne (Salma Hayek) has a fashion show coming up for which he has to leave with his family sooner than anyone else from the lake house that he has rented for the weekend. Kurt is clearly the wife in the family as it's his wife who earns the bread for the family. Eric has issues with his furniture store back home but he wants to come across as someone who is financially secure. Rob, on the other hand, is married thrice and yet is not sure how to deal with his wife.
Director Dennis Dugan who is a favored Sandler collaborator ( they also worked in You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Big Daddy and just finished Just Go With it) deals with these pent up feelings of his characters with a liberal sprinkling of banter. The humor reflects in some superbly written lines and comebacks that the friends use while they're either nostalgic about their school or while they're taking digs at each other. The best ones are reserved for Lenny, Eric and Marcus. The low point of the movie though are the few parts where situations are forcefully contrived to to give way to humor of the slapstick variety. A breastfeeding scene and a loud Steve Buscemi guest appearance are completely needless. Inspite of these what saves the movie is a final basketball game between these friends and their old school nemesis' team. The climax is all about Sandler and he shows exactly why he's a special actor and a notch above the rest of the cast. With his typicaly casual demeanour he takes the lead in this final game and performs his part with an ease that reflects as much of nonchalance as brilliance. In the process, the movie's comes out a winner.
If you ever been in a school team and have bonded with your mates years after that. this is an unmissable flick. The camaraderie and the humor is such situations is meant be drive nostalgia and the movie will surely transport you back to those days. This also means that the humor which at times comes across as crass isn't univerally appealing. But that doesn't take away anything away from this comedy about buddies. It is meant to be just that and delivers the laughs to make it just about a memorable watch.