Just to be clear, the title of this summer sequel is meant to be ironic: the four lifelong friends played by Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade may be middle-aged husbands and parents, but they’re really oversized kids. That’s the only touch of irony in a movie that revels in leering sex jokes, along with an abundance of pee-pee and doo-doo gags.
Judging from the box-office success of 2010’s Grown Ups, there is a healthy-sized audience for this brand of comedy. The (non-paying) preview audience with whom I saw the film this week laughed heartily, especially the kids, who cheered with delight at every politically incorrect sight gag, no matter how crude or cruel. As for the pairing of Sandler and Salma Hayek as husband and wife, even Sandler feels obliged to remark that they’re an unlikely couple—the kind one might only find in a Hollywood movie. (Don’t get me started on the movie’s depiction of women…)
As usual, producer and co-writer Sandler, working with longtime directing collaborator Dennis Dugan, stocks the cast with old friends from the world of comedy (Jon Lovitz, Colin Quinn, Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows, et al) in often-outrageous cameos and non-sequitur scenes. The screenplay isn’t coherent, but at least it keeps moving.
Comedy is always a matter of personal taste, and this bonanza of bodily-fluid humor isn’t my cup of java. The millions who do enjoy it are welcome to Grown Ups 2. If they show up in sufficient numbers, I suppose we’ll get another sequel in a couple of years. What a discouraging prospect.