Grown-Ups (2010)

Rated: PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity.
Length: 102 minutes
Grade: B-CBD=B-
Budget: $80 million
Box Office: $312 million (162 U.S., 109 Intl., 41 DVD)

Written by: Adam Sandler (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Little Nicky, Big Daddy, Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, and Billy Madison) and Fred Wolf (Strange Wilderness, Without a Paddle, Joe Dirt, Dirty Work, and Black Sheep)
Directed by: Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Benchwarmers, National Security, Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, and Happy Gilmore)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider
With: Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph.

Five former best friend basketball teammates reconnect and rediscover their roots when their championship coach dies.

Entertainment Value: B-
Despite the vulgarity (something which I mention only because it bothers a lot of you), this was pretty funny. Adam Sandler has taken to making comedies with a point, and this certainly has that. But, and this is always the key, it has to be funny before it can earn my interest in its message. And in this case (unlike Dinner for Schmucks, for example), it certainly is. Yes, most of the dialogue is a bit fake, like five comedians writing a script in which five comedians try to have clever dialogue. But despite the stilted feel of it all, it’s still funny enough. The gags (mostly) work, and the lines are (mostly) funny.

Superficial Content: C
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sex/Nudity C, Violence B, Language C
This is definitely PG-13, with plenty of deviant sexual references, PG-13 language, and comic violence (like people getting shot in the feet with arrows). If there were a PG-15 rating, this would probably be PG-15 just for overall crudeness.

Significant Content: B
I don’t know whether Adam Sandler was going for something self-revelatory here or just useful, but the dominant message here is that driven people turning their children into techno-brats can save their family by returning to nature and/or the pace of life of the past. Video games and texting nannies may be today, but Chutes & Ladders and rope swings are what make life great. I did, however, love the kind little twist on the ending of giving the resentful losers from long ago something to feel proud of as an act of kindness.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
Somehow, having five talented comedians do a movie like this should have come out feeling less awkward. Also, there just isn’t much here to think about after it’s all over unless you’re a mega-rich success and your kids are becoming brats.
Overall Grade: B-
Entertaining enough, but not fantastic by any measure.

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