What Is It:
Every summer season needs a big blockbuster comedy that brings together lots of names under one umbrella with the aim of letting star power, a well-packaged trailer and 90 minutes of amiable fun lead to box office gold. That’s precisely the role that Grown Ups finds itself in.
It’s got an interesting job on its hands, though. Last summer, the comedy crown was taken by The Hangover, a film that earned staggering amounts of money without the help of any major stars at all. Instead, it had a premise of promise, and some jokes that work.
Grown Ups‘ premise is suitably straightforward and relatively high concept: 30 years after they all graduated high school together, five friends are brought back together for the funeral of their basketball coach. Consequently, they decide to spend a 4th of July weekend together, with comedic results.
There’s nothing particularly intricate to that set-up, and we might be going out on a limb here, but we suspect there won’t be much particularly intricate to the end result. It’s a film that simply sets out to make people laugh. And there’s no shame in that at all.
Who’s In It:
Front and centre of the ensemble cast is Adam Sandler, who – when he plays in this kind of comedy – rather than something akin to last summer’s Funny People – is something of a hit machine. He’s joined by four main co-stars, each of which he’s appeared with in one of his movies before, but never altogether in the same one.
Step forward then Messrs Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade. They’re joined by Salma Hayek and Maria Bello too, and all working from a script by Sandler and Fred Wolf.
Behind the camera? That’d be another regular Sandler collaborator, Dennis Dugan. Dugan previously steered Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, amongst others. He’s also the helmer of one of Sandler’s finest ever films, Happy Gilmore.
And, er, he made the first Problem Child too.
Why Should You Watch It
There’s generally quite a lot of snobbishness that surrounds Adam Sandler’s movies, but this writer, at least, has tended to enjoy more of them than not. Particularly when Sandler’s playing closer to home, as he undoubtedly is here, he manages to generate sufficient chuckles, often from the very slightest of material.
Here, he seems to be blending together a compilation album of his greatest hits. By bringing together some of his most prominent co-stars, the hope would be that Grown Ups will turn out to be a funny, forgettable and thoroughly entertaining ensemble comedy. We don’t expect it to be high brow, but we do look for it to be a lot of fun.
What tempers our hopes, though, is the material released of the film thus far. It’s no secret that if you want to sell a comedy, you put every funny joke you can find in the trailer. People look for a comedy, people want to laugh. As such, while it leads to whingers like us berating the fact that the trailer has given the game away, it does have a habit of selling a lot of tickets when you pack plenty of chortles into a two minute promo reel.
But here, there’s something of an issue. The trailer for Grown Ups looks absolutely terrible. Seriously, we looked really hard, even accepting the point above about liking Sandler in comedies of this ilk, and there didn’t seem to be a single chuckle in the damn thing.
That’s a problem, especially given the breadth of comic talent that’s been packed into the movie. Again, you might not warm to the likes of Schneider, James, Spade and such like, but there’s little doubt that they’re all capable of generating laughs. Which leaves us hoping that the trailer for Grown Ups is simply badly cut, a promo for a film that’s actually got lots of laughs that it’s holding back because it doesn’t want you to see them yet.
The summer isn’t jam-packed with big comedy movies, with Dinner For Schmucks the obvious competitor here. That should mean that Grown Ups – which is opening opposite Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight And Day over in the States – has a clear run at bringing in a bit of a change.
It’s likely to do so, and there’s little reason why it couldn’t give Sandler another $100m+ hit in the US. But here’s hoping there are a few more funny jokes in it than we’ve seen already…
US release date: 25th JuneUK release date: 6th August
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