On the Big Board
|I really liked how sincerely nostalgic this movie was, but that might make it a little slow (ie, not enough crass jokes) for adults and kids alike.
Every year, Adam Sandler does a couple of films. On the whole, they’re all fairly profitable. Every now and then one of them is a fairly big hit. So far, Sandler’s had the kind of savvy that’s managed to avoid the colossal failures of other Saturday Night Live alums like Eddie Murphy (Pluto Nash from 2002, which grossed some $90 million under production budget at the box office) and Mike Myers (The Love Guru, which grossed some $20 million under production budget at the box office.) While a colossal failure is almost certainly on the horizon for Sandler (some of us can, at least, hope) Sandler’s future failure doesn’t seem likely to be the all-star comedy Grown Ups.
Co-written by former Comics Only second banana Fred Wolf, Grown Ups centers on five former high school friends getting together for a Fourth of July weekend. The impressive cast includes Maya Rudolph, Salma Hayek, Rob Schneider, Maria Bello, David Spade and Chris Rock - a strange mix at best, but more than enough variety to pique most people’s interest.
While it’s not destined to be a huge money maker, there’s little doubt that a far lower-budget interpersonal comedy will appeal to enough of an audience to be the solidly profitable, if forgettable work that has become standard for Sandler. (Russ Bickerstaff/BOP)
When you’re a child, you wish you could grow up and when you’re a grown up, you wish for that innocence back. Memories promised to never be forgotten are washed away and dreams for the future are put to the wayside. Grown Ups takes a look at what happens to a group of friends brought back together by a tragic loss and shows how distance and time really make no difference when true friendship is there. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider all star
Adam Sander has proven time and time again that he is one of the leading comic actors in the industry. His string of successful films in the '90s gave him reason to believe that he could play more serious acting roles while retaining an audience. Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love garnered critical acclaim and were small successes at the box office. Reign Over Me and Funny People were completely different stories. With a 9/11 storyline against it, Reign over Me was little watched and Funny People albeit Funny was bogged down with depressing material that sank its chances at the box office greatly. Sandler does best with ridiculous storylines and crude, bro-friendly humor. Nine out of his ten $100 million dollar films have been comedies. Sandler still has it in him and all he needs is the right movie. Grown Ups is a step in the right direction to getting him back to his former glory.
James has been down this road with Sandler before with the $120 million film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. At that time, Kevin James was just the side player to Sandler. Since then he has gone from the fat guy on King of Queens and Adam Sandler’s buddy to Paul Blart- a household name (shudder). Paul Blart: Mall Cop came out of nowhere and took the box office by storm with a total of $148 million (it hurts to type that.) and single-handedly turned James from bit player to headlining star. The chemistry between Sandler and James is there and with those two involved Grown Ups would most likely be a huge success.
But Grown Ups isn’t done there. Spade, Rock and Schneider all throw their hat in the ring as well, which gives Grown Ups an even greater edge on the competition. Schneider knows what it takes to be in a Sandler film since he’s been in almost every one and Rock has a large African-American fan base that might not normally go see a Sandler flick. To me, Spade is the odd man out in this scenario. His most successful films were the Benchwarmers (ensemble cast- $60 million), Black Sheep and Tommy Boy (popular because of Chris Farley, not David Spade) and Joe Dirt (cult film but not really a box office smash). He surely isn’t going to hinder the film any but I just don’t see the point. Isn’t four comedians enough? This is where Grown Ups could get steered off the wrong path. Some may believe that too much of a good thing can hinder a film. Recent ensemble casts in He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day have proven successful dollars wise but have been critically panned (Valentine’s Day has the same Rotten Tomatoes score as Howard the Duck, so that has be telling you something). With so many cooks in the kitchen, Grown Ups could get lost within itself. Only time will tell if five funnymen is better then one. (Ronnie Harvey/BOP)