Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
July 11, 2013
Zero stars (out of four)
You know what? No.
I won't list a lot of the jokes in “Grown Ups 2” because pathetic cracks about Chia pets and “Droolio Iglesias” speak for themselves. I won't describe all the ways the characters mock unattractive women and objectify beauties while suggesting it's normal to fear your wife. And I'm not having another online debate with a reader who insists lazy, misogynistic, pointless Adam Sandler movies epitomize innocent, stupid fun. Stupid is fine; to mistake crass and hateful for laid-back entertainment is its own, vile brand of dumb.
The entitled-celebs-hanging-out-and-vaguely-calling-it-a-story in 2010's “Grown Ups” was a movie like toddlers in a sandbox is a political summit. I don't know why characters played by Sandler (who “co-wrote” the “script”), Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade no longer see or mention their lifelong friend played by Rob Schneider in the blatantly unnecessary “Grown Ups 2,” but it might be the best career decision Schneider's ever made. Perhaps even he has a limit regarding films that feature two incidents of a deer peeing in someone's face, two examples of someone eating something they pulled from their own orifice and two MC Hammer jokes within the span of a few minutes.
For the record, my limit for those jokes is zero.
Kurt (Rock) delights when his wife (Maya Rudolph) forgets their anniversary because it gives him a “get out of jail free” card. Eric (James, mugging for his life) insists the busy wife (Maria Bello) raising their kids shape up and do better for her oblivious momma's boy husband. Marcus (Spade) defends himself from the teenage son he never knew existed instead of making any effort to understand him. And Lenny (Sandler), who says no one can understand his wife's (Salma Hayek) accent while saluting her boobs with a high-five to the mailman, breaks his son's leg and threatens to do it again in a film that feels like a crossover episode of four unwatchable sitcoms.
OK, now that you got me going: Male and female characters laugh at a woman with masculine features, a janitor (Jon Lovitz) sexually harasses a workout class and the guys foster a rivalry with the world's dumbest frat guys (led by Hollywood's least talented comedian, Taylor Lautner) so there's some kind of storyline to resolve. With an ass-kicking, obviously, a fitting coda to a film in which Lenny laments being bullied as a kid and then he and his pals act like adult bullies over and over and over again.
Yes, I laughed a time or two. Chris Rock looks funny in a Prince costume. The same can't be said for Steve Buscemi dressing as Flavor Flav. Man, that's a sad image.
Comedy is personal; everyone has his or her own definition of funny. (At one point, Lenny said “dummy” and someone in the audience giggled and said, “Dummy. Huh-huh-huh.”) But Sandler deserves a new definition for his name after all these years of toxic carelessness toward the people in the seats:
sandler, noun. A person so indifferent toward your moviegoing experience that he seems to go out of his selfish way to decrease your enjoyment. During a movie, this may include answering a phone, texting, chatting with the person next to him or, in extreme cases, pouring hot butter down your shirt. Example: “I liked ‘Iron Man 12,’ but the guy behind me was being a real sandler.”
There's no excuse for sandlers, and there's no excuse for Sandler. He’s not alone in the blame for poison like “Grown Ups 2,” but it's no secret that everyone's hanging onto his coattails and kicking up their feet as these popular comedies continue to treat terrible people as the coolest guys in the world. Really. Really. No.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC