‘Grown Ups 2’ is the Worst Comedy Since 2010’s Loathed ‘Grown Ups’

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CHICAGO – There’s a time and a place where overacting is acceptable – musicals, children’s plays, Broadway – but there’s nothing worse than using it all the time in every wrong place.

Nothing worse, that is, except for a film that stars so many known stars – Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Steve Buscemi, Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson, Jon Lovitz and Shaquille O’Neal – who all think it’s a wise professional choice to appear in the worst comedy since the first time Adam Sandler tried to be funny in 2010’s “Grown Ups”.

David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Kevin James in Grown Ups 2
Left to right: David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Kevin James at a 1980s party in “Grown Ups 2”.
Image credit: Tracy Bennett, CTMG

It’s like they all saw a different film than what got released and thought that that movie was worthy of being made. What was made will only anger you for having taken your money, wasted your time and failed to make you laugh.

While “Grown Ups” was financial a success on paper (it grossed $271 globally on an $80 million product budget), never in the past decade have we seen a more grievous decision to snag another $80 million and create an even worse sequel than the waste vomited out by Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups 2”.

Salma Hayek in Grown Ups 2
Salma Hayek in her boutique in “Grown Ups 2”.
Image credit: Tracy Bennett, CTMG

Even if you forgive all of the actors and filmmakers for their missteps, I blame most of all some guy known as Tom Costain. (He was paid to edit the other Adam Sandler films “50 First Dates” and “Anger Management”.) While this chap shockingly assistant edited the revolutionary “The Matrix,” in “Grown Ups 2” he neglected to edit out, well, pretty much everything.

During this jail sentence that lasts 101 minutes, I counted the genuine laughs “Grown Ups 2” earned on one hand. The only other giggles I found myself managing to find were of the worst variety a comedy can create: where you’re laughing at how unfunny, poorly acted and terribly scripted it is. I lost count of the shots that should have been cut and the ridiculously artificial energy this film used to disguise itself as humorous.

Alexander Ludwig and David Spade in Grown Ups 2
Alexander Ludwig meeting his father, David Spade, in “Grown Ups 2”.
Image credit: Tracy Bennett, CTMG

While I can’t count on just two hands the poor performances by famous people in this film, there wasn’t a bigger offender than “Twilight” star Taylor Lautner. His character name, of course, is Frat Boy Andy and that’s all you need to know. Whatever he got paid should be illegal considering he offered the worst example of human acting Hollywood has seen in a decade.

Rather than featuring Lautner, director Dennis Dugan (“Jack and Jill,” “Happy Gilmore”) would have literally made a more shrewd move to film 101 minutes of a larva eating its own feces. “Grown Ups 2” feels like a collection of failed one-acts that were created in an amateur comedy class – most of which should have been thrown out but wasn’t because they couldn’t create better material.

Taylor Lautner in Grown Ups 2
Taylor Lautner in “Grown Ups 2”.
Image credit: Tracy Bennett, CTMG

In other words, it’s paid time off for a collection of Hollywood friends in between having to shoot real movies. Even the actors themselves seemed to be making fun of the film rather than taking seriously any attempt at quality comedic filmmaking. If “Grown Ups 2” was anything in the ballpark of a “good movie,” then sea cucumber excrement is tasty. (One of the dirtiest animals on the planet, they resemble a long sausage and dine on dead animal carcasses).

Leaving the theatre without even wasting a single breath to debate with fellow critics this film’s total and utter failure, I’ve since attempted to find one or two redeeming qualities. It’s true: David Spade can be tolerated (even though his long-lost son needs to never act again), we can shut off our brains and manage a laugh from Nick Swardson’s class-clown character and, it has to be said, Salma Hayek is fine even when she’s not delivering any lines.

Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Maria Bello, David Spade and Adam Sandler in Grown Ups 2
Left to right: Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Maria Bello, David Spade and Adam Sandler in “Grown Ups 2”.
Image credit: Tracy Bennett, CTMG

But seriously, people. I know we all have long and hard days and a popcorn flick might seem like the perfect cup of tea. I know we don’t always demand cinematic elements that comprise a quality film including a good story and actual acting. Sometimes we just want stuff blown up, eye candy to look at or violence to make our lives feel not so wretched.

But demand more than “Grown Ups 2” and never settle for less. A film can fail on a few fronts but still succeed on others. When a comedy isn’t funny and instead lullabies you to sleep, all you’re left with is resentment that you spent your time and money here rather than doing anything else.

“Grown Ups 2” stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Steve Buscemi, Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson, Jon Lovitz, Shaquille O’Neal, Taylor Lautner and Maria Bello from director Dennis Dugan and writers Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf. “Grown Ups 2,” which has a running time of 101 minutes, opens nationwide on July 12, 2013. The film has been rated “PG-13” for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity.

HollywoodChicago.com publisher Adam Fendelman


© 2013 Adam Fendelman, HollywoodChicago.com LLC

ew's picture

you are too biased and hard

you are too biased and hard on Lautner.
shame on you.

HollywoodChicago.com's picture

Go ahead

I open-mindedly invite and challenge you to defend Lautner’s performance in this film. Please explain your reasons why a monkey couldn’t have done 100% better.

Palmer's picture



Tucker's picture

Look, obviously you’re

Look, obviously you’re bitter, and why wouldn’t you be? So few read your musings, which is how it will stay, of course. However, I just wanted to say: you sure are fascinated with excrement. My goodness, you love mentioning it, reveling in it, it invades almost all your metaphors like, like, well, like poop invades a toilet (I’ll pause while your write that down, little one). Oh, and I loved how you decided to explain what a “sea cucumber” is. Next time, be a little cooler, ya know? Don’t circle back and let us know that you didn’t REALLY know what this creature was, that you read up on one and just couldn’t wait to be a little pedantic for once in your life. I know YOU don’t understand what I just meant, but the real writers out there do. When a small person such as you nips at champions, it only reinforces the suspicion that you are merely howling impotently at the successful, and your dreams have been dashed, circling your hair-clogged shower drain, somewhere in your parents’ basement. Oh, and by your picture, I’d say this is a cruel fate, as you know deep down that by now you should be achieving more. And that you won’t. So you rage at others. Oh, real quick, non-writer: A monkey could not have done better than Lautner. Ahh, but you know that, because you know monkeys. You stand for hours at the zoo, watching them throw their excrement at each other, and you think, “there but the Grace of God go I…. oh, wait a minute… that IS me! And not even metaphorically!” Well, bye bye. Go write some more. You amuse me. Oh, but check your grammar and mixed tenses next time. It is super dooper embarrassing, Almost as bad as that mustache of yours. Or is that something else…? Ohhh, Got Poop? Man, you’ve been DESTROYED, little one! Don’t cry.

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