By Lane Roberts
Lenny (Adam Sandler) and crew are back together in the small town where they grew up in Grown Ups 2. This time, however, Lenny, Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade) must learn to accept that their children are becoming “grown ups” as well.
Set three years after the events of the original Grown Ups (2010), Grown Ups 2 finds Lenny back in rustic Connecticut to raise his family. Though removed from the hectic Los Angeles city life, he and his buds are as harassed as ever by the demands of their families. Between the kids, who have enough problems of their own, and their wives, who are never satisfied, it seems as though New England is not as relaxing as they remembered.
As the children face the usual problems of adolescence and pre-adolescence – young love, bullying and school – the men are also faced with nagging wives. Lenny’s wife wants another baby, Eric takes frequent trips to his mother’s house and Kurt becomes smug when he remembers his and Deanne’s (Maya Rudolph) anniversary and she does not. Even chronic bachelor, Marcus, has his own family troubles; he finds out that he fathered a son, who happens to be a switchblade-wielding teenage thug.
As someone who is always wary of sequels, I was unsurprised to find that Grown Ups 2 fell short of my expectations. Not that its predecessor was an Oscar contender, but for a film featuring some of comedy’s biggest stars, it was disappointing to see it fail to meet its potential. Grown Ups 2 could be so much funnier than it is.
That being said, there are plenty laugh-out-loud moments and, more than anything, it is somewhat endearing to watch these aging men struggle to remain youthful until Lenny finally admits, “The party’s over, fellas. We’re irrelevant.”
While this sentiment may be true of his character, the same cannot be said for Sandler himself, who has certainly learned how to market his humor. Despite being critically panned, both Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 did well at the box office, earning over $162 million and $132 million, respectively. Clearly, Sandler’s fans are loyal despite his worsening material.
So, though you may be disappointed that Grown Ups 2 is only slightly reminiscent of Sandler’s earlier comedies, the film is still funny enough to remind you of why Sandler is still relevant after all these years.