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‘Grown Ups’ is good, not exceptional

By Staff | Jun 30, 2010

Thirty years ago a good natured coach (Blake Clark) told his winning team of grade schoolers, “When the final buzzer of life goes off, have no regrets.”

When the team reunites for the Coach’s funeral, spread his ashes and recall childhood days at the lake house, they have mostly followed his creed.

However, Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler), a powerful Hollywood agent, senses that at least his family has steered past the coach’s commandments, specifically by immersion in the culture of success as defined by “stuff,” such as a 150 inch flat screen television, cellphone and video game addictions and straying past courteous interpersonal communication.

Sandler co-wrote and co-produced, “Grown Ups,” which also reunites a quartet of former “Saturday Night Live” alum (Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade) as now married adults sporting stretched eccentricities.

Expectations run high, but forget a weaving philosophical “Big Chill” life reflection; instead, it’s more of a Griswald or Tom Baker (Steve Martin, “Cheaper by the Dozen”) family attending a pleasant and occasionally dysfunctional homecoming. 

Gags are good, not exceptional — the ongoing milk moustache reference, sanitized and nasty cougar swipes and the pleasant art of ogling sustain the most laughs. Sandler’s stab at instilling outdoor play values (throw a rock into the lake, a ball in a basket) comes up against high definition video games and Milan festivities.

Superficially appealing, “Grown Ups” and its stellar cast of edgy comedians fall more in the category of politically correct, establishment family frolic more found under the Disney banner.

Contact Tony at trutherford@graffitiwv.com