Grown Ups 2 Movie Review
There was nothing remotely notable about 2010's Grown Ups, and now we have a sequel that's even lazier. Without any actual plot to speak of, the movie merely strings together a series of unfunny scenes that include cheap gags and childish vulgarity but never a punchline. Sure, the scattershot approach might occasionally touch on recognisable situations, but there isn't a genuine laugh in the whole film.
After the reunion in the original movie, Lenny (Sandler) has moved back to his hometown with pals Eric, Kurt and Marcus (James, Rock and Spade). They're planning a big party just like in the old days, complete with a 1980s theme. But their children are getting older and have their own issues, including first dates and driving tests. And in Marcus' case, the kid is a teen thug (Ludwig) he only just discovered he had. But the real problem is that the guys have just sparked a turf war with a gang of idiotic fratboys from the nearby university. And now they have to prove once and for all who's really cool.
As with the first movie, you get the feeling that everyone on screen has somewhere better to be. There's no character development at all, since there are so many people spread across so many short scenes. Hayek, Bello and Rudolph are back as the guys' wives, but get exactly one thankless thing to do each. And it's not much better for the supporting cast of A-list cameo players like Buscemi (as a driving instructor), Lautner (as the fraternity leader) and so many more recognisable actors that you begin to wonder what dirt Sandler has on all of them.
All of this might not be so awful if there was even a hint of a relationship between these four men. But their friendship is never remotely developed; there's no loyalty or camaraderie at all. The way these characters parent their children is actually criminal. And everything feels a little slimy due to a continual stream of sexism and homophobia as these misogynistic men leer at buxom women. Frankly, only audience members under the age of 12 have the stomach for this many excretory gags. But then that's exactly who the movie was written for.