Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Adam Sandler & Company’s ‘Grown Ups’ Not Fit For Adult Consumption, ‘Toy Story 3’ On Track To Stay On Top

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Adam Sandler & Company’s ‘Grown Ups’ Not Fit For Adult Consumption, ‘Toy Story 3’ On Track To Stay On Top

From the start of his movie career, when Adam Sandler made the successful transition from late night sketch comedy to the big screen with movies like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, he’s made sure to spread the wealth. Sandler has produced vehicles for his closest friends he connected with during his early 90s stint on Saturday Night Live such as Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigelow, The Hot Chick) and David Spade (Meet Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star) through his company Happy Madison Productions. His biggest success story, so far, has been Paul Blart: Mall Cop, produced for his I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry co-star Kevin James. The most surprising thing about Grown Ups, which stars Schneider, Spade, James and fellow SNL alum Chris Rock for good measure, is that he didn’t think of an idea that included all of his friends, earlier. The inspiration behind it is essentially the same as last year’s Vince Vaughn-produced Couple’s Retreat, which starred Vaughn along with longtime friend and collaborator Jon Favreau. In both cases, the fun that the cast no doubt enjoyed during filming, seems to be inversely proportional to the quality of the finished product.

THE BUZZ: Not so good. Grown Ups, has has gotten the worst reviews of the summer, a distinction that was previously held by Sex and the City 2. Sex screenwriter Michael Patrick King can thank Sandler and former SNL writer Fred Wolf for creating a big budget comedy so devoid of laughs that the high point is Kevin James falling off a rope swing.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips blames the director, Dennis Dugan for his lack of skill with the talented cast of comedians. He writes:

I wish I had laughed more often. I love to laugh, loud and long and clear, just like Ed Wynn in Mary Poppins. It’s just that Grown Ups director Dennis Dugan, a frequent Sandler collaborator, is such a dang lunkhead when it comes to slapstick. On the crudest possible level he lands the punch lines often enough to please the folks and make the money, so there’s no fiscal incentive for him to change a thing about his directorial approach to anything, really. But if he ever learns to sustain a shot and build a joke visually within the frame, rather than slamming it together in the edit, he’ll give us better comedies. I guar-an-tee it.

The usually grumpy Andrew O’Hier, writing for Salon, wasn’t amused by Sandler and company’s juvenile antics either:

Among this movie’s abundant crimes is the way it squanders a whole gang of popular comedians on hopelessly hackneyed characters and a string of lame sketches that would have been written out of the second-worst episode of “Two and a Half Men.” All it’s got is a bunch of free-floating 21st-century male anxiety

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