This week, Grown Ups 2, an Adam Sandler film, opened nationwide and for anyone who takes movies seriously, this is not a good thing. Until the last couple years, Sandler’s films have been incredibly successful. For many years, he put out movies every year, from The Waterboy to Eight Crazy Nights to Click, all of which made at least 100 million dollars at the box office. His last two movies, Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy have gotten nowhere near this dollar amount, but that all changes with Grown Ups 2.
Sandler has a certain brand of humor that is definitely not for everyone and even though the films have made buckets of money they were certainly not critical successes. Critical bashing has gone to such an extent that a typical Rotten Tomatoes rating is around 8% (out of 100%). But of all the critics that hate Sandler, there needs to be some people who make up that 8% and I am proud to say that I am one of them. So against the better judgment of the nation’s film critics, I am actually giving Grown Ups 2 a positive review.
The premise to Grown Ups 2 is simple. Three years after the events of the first movie, Larry Feder (Sandler) has moved back to the small town where he and his buddies grew up. There he is joined by his friends Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Higgy (David Spade) as they learn some important lessons from their kids on their last day of school. I enjoyed the movie as I am a fan of everyone involved, from David Spade to Shaquille O'Neal to radio personality Dan Patrick. Everyone gets their moment to provide a few chuckles and it makes for an entertaining experience. Maybe that makes me lowbrow, unsophisticated or just an idiot but I don’t care, I thought it was great.
The general consensus of film critics regarding both Grown Ups movies is that this comedy does not follow the rules of film. It contains no real plot, the characters are never really developed and a script seems to be non-existent. Basically it seems to these viewers that Sandler got together with a bunch of his friends so they could make money and just try and make each other laugh. This is certainly a valid argument and I would be dead wrong if I disagreed with it, after all, this is certainly no Casablanca. But I think I have a solution. Instead of calling any Sandler experience a movie, how about we call it an improv show or a comedic experiment. This way we can still enjoy ourselves, not feel guilt for buying tickets and not have to spend a lot of time analyzing the performance. After all, it’s not often that you get to watch a bunch of comedians just having a good time. Just an idea.
In the end, Sandler will probably never become a darling with the critics and to tell you honestly, I don’t think he cares. Despite what other hidden motives he may have, there is a part of him that is thrilled to entertain his audiences and what more could you want? Despite what people think, I will always be a fan of Adam Sandler and I encourage anyone who is looking for two hours of sitting back, turning off your brain and having a few chuckles to check out Grown Ups 2.
Justin Zipprich is a published writer and actor who lives in beautiful Los Angeles with his amazing wife Kimberly. In addition to great and interesting entertainment articles, he is also the writer of several short stories, screenplays and comedy sketches.