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Misty S., Here….
Adam Sandler, the founder of Happy Madison films, has used the same formula for every movie that he has ever done. He took some of his unknown buddies that have all started in his first movie “Billy Madison” and every movie since, combined with his ‘Saturday Night Live‘ buddies and throws in some big guest appearances for added entertainment to create a comedic movie that all will love and flock to go see in the theaters. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. This time, though, it did better than I expected it to. ‘Grown Ups 2‘, the obvious sequel to ‘Grown Ups‘, came and delivered, even with all the press and hype to it. This movie is not really a sequel since it can be watched without seeing the first one, but when one does not know what to call a “sequel”, just add a #2 to it. Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Kevin James have the chemistry and natural banter, like they had in the first one, that makes the movie ebb and flow without hardly any slow or unfunny scenes to sit through. There are, however, the same jokes that you see in all of the Happy Madison films and even on ‘Saturday Night Live‘. This is the type of film that when you walk into it, you are already knowledgeable of what is going to happen.
The movie takes place in Lenny Feder’s (Sandler) hometown, after he moved his family back to be with his friends and their kids. Its follows his family and friends on the last day of school, starting with the semi amusing wake up from a buck that got into the house. Feder ends up driving the kids to school on the school bus due to Nick (Nick Swardson) being under the influence and unable to drive. Swardson steals every scene that he is in with his over the top physical comedy and dead on line delivery. He is one of the jewels in this movie. Along the way, Feder picks up Kurt McKenzie (Rock), Marcus Higgins (Spade) and Eric Lamonsoff (James) to make a trip to Kmart. There they meet up with nerdy Malcolm (Tim Meadows) and officers Fluzoo (Shaquille O’Neal) and Dante (Peter Dante). The Kmart scene is funny, but this is where the movie peaks. Swardson really steals the scenes that he is in at this location. The crew heads over to Feder’s daughters ballet recital in a overdone scene where there is good looking ballet instructor and the men drool over her. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who plays Feder’s middle school arc nemesis, appears for a shocking appearance in this movie. I was always a big fan of his when he was in the WWF/WWE, so seeing him in this movie was the cherry on top of an already melting sundae.
As the day and movie continues, you see the group get involved in all kinds of shenanigans from jumping off a cliff naked to Higgins getting into a tire and being rolled downhill until he comes to a stop. This is when the banter between the four characters really pulls this movie along. The jokes made about Higgins girlfriend choices and Feders childhood bullying issues are done with such ease that you can really see the real life friendships of the foursome come off the screen. Some of the best scenes are the ones that show all four of them separate from each other and with their families. Salma Hayek, Maya Rudoloph and Maria Bello do a really good job at holding their own in this movie alongside their male co stars. I was really impressed considering Hayek and Bello are better known as dramatic actresses, instead of comedic ones. Rudolph is hilarious as Deanne McKenzie, the mother of three crazy kids with the youngest stealing the show as a biter. The kids really round out this movie with each of them having their own little quirks and story lines, just like in the first one.
The movie ends with a party thrown by Feder and his crew with the entire town showing up for the party of the century. There are the usual surprises and little bits of drama throughout the movie that give it a little bit of meat to it. Higgins has a long lost son, Malcolm’s son wants to date Feders daughter, Lamonsoff has mommy issues, things like that. Then, there are cameos. From the commercials you see Taylor Lautner (Twilight Saga) and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), but there is also Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Cheri O’Teri(Saturday Night Live), Andy Samberg(That’s My Boy), the list goes on and on. Sandler must have gotten the memo that the more big names you can squeeze into a movie, the better the box office number will be. Personally, I have never seen so many SNL past alumni in a single movie, in my entire life!. I could tell you how the movie ends, but then you would not want to go see it in the theater. I will tell you that there is enough loose strings in the end to make a third movie in this franchise.
Now, I liked this movie, I really did. I know for a lot of you if might be too long or boring, but I appreciate a movie that deals with adults trying to recapture their youth. I’m also a huge fan of Adam Sandler and have been since he was on SNL years ago. However, I think that he is smart to share some of the screen time with the other three actors. It gives you a break from his comedic style and you get to enjoy Spade, Rock and James in all their glory. I do get a little sad when I think that had Chris Farley not died, he would have been in this movie instead of Kevin James. It’s just not the same to me, especially since I remember the four being on SNL together. All in all, this was a great non special effects movie that you can take your spouse or even your kids to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.