Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Colin Quinn, Shaquille O'Neal, Nick Swardson
Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf, Tim Herlihy
Just because they're a little older doesn't mean they've grown up.
The all-star comedy cast from Grown Ups returns with some exciting new additions! After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny (Adam Sandler) finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, wild bus drivers, cops on skis and 400 costumed party crashers, sometimes crazy follows you.
$41.508 million on 3491 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 101 min.
Release Date: 11/5/2013
• 8 Deleted Scenes
• “Look Who Stopped By” Featurette
• “The Feder House” Featurette
• “Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride” Featurette
• “Shaq and Dante: Police Force” Featurette
• DVD Copy
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Grown Ups 2 [Blu-Ray] (2013)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 13, 2013)
Back in 2010, I regarded Grown Ups as one of the most miserable “comedies” I’d encountered in my 40-plus years of life. With that as background, why do I sit here now with 2013’s Grown Ups 2 in my Blu-ray player? Hope springs eternal – I just couldn’t believe that a second movie with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James could be as unfunny as the first.
Three years after the fun he experienced during the reunion documented in the first film, Hollywood agent Lenny Feder (Sandler) decides to leave LA and move his family back to the small New England town of his youth so they can enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle. There they get to spend time with Lenny’s old pals Kurt McKenzie (Rock), Marcus Higgins (Spade), Eric Lamonsoff (James) and their respective families.
We find the gang on the last day of school before all their kids go on summer break. Various threads arise, all of which lead toward a big “beginning of summer” party in which the different themes come to a head.
Two minutes, 15 seconds: that’s how long it takes for 2 to deliver a deer who urinates on a naked teenager. Six minutes, 45 seconds: that’s how long it takes for 2 to give us a wisecracking toddler.
And it doesn’t get much better from there. Like the first film, 2 suffers from a serious case of laziness. I felt awfully tempted to skip my plot synopsis, as it barely seemed worth the effort. Story and character areas become completely incidental in this gag-driven movie; the movie invests in those narrative components because it feels an obligation to do so, but all it really wants to do is lob crass jokes at us.
2 offers a clear example of “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” humor. It comes with nearly non-stop attempts at comedy – emphasis on “attempts” – but precious few of these gags land.
Actually, I’m not sure I can think of a single legitimately funny moment in 2. It occasionally brings us a mild smile, but it doesn’t evoke any real laughs – or even any minor chuckles.
Instead, most of the “humor” just seems likely to make the viewer shake his/her head in mild disgust. Honestly, I suspect the first film used up all my self-righteous indignation; while I went into the original flick with the belief I might actually enjoy it, I entered 2 with exceedingly low expectations.
This means I can’t quite muster any real feelings of outrage toward 2. As I mentioned at the start, I took a look at it because I didn’t believe such a talented cast could provide a second straight disaster, but I still didn’t expect a whole lot from it.
That said, I continue to find myself depressed at the sheer laziness of the entire enterprise. The first film felt like a bunch of guys got together for the weekend, made up a movie on the fly and that was that. 2 actually seems a bit more “planned”, but that doesn’t make it better thought-out or realized.
It’s the quality of the humor that evokes my accusations of laziness. The filmmakers just focus on the easiest, lowest-common-denominator material they can find, with an emphasis on cheap slapstick and crude bodily function gags. These seem neither clever nor funny; they’re the kind of bits you’d imagine 12-year-olds would create.
In a surprising twist, 2 overwhelms us with character elements. Although it doesn’t enjoy an actual plot, it boasts a slew of little narrative threads. With the four leads, their wives and kids, we get a ton of characters here, and the movie attempts little arcs for virtually all of them.
That leaves little time to explore any of them, though, so all those teeny-tiny arcs come across as little more than gratuitous window-dressing. I probably should praise the movie’s attempts to be more than just a collection of gags, but in a way, these multiple story elements just highlight the movie’s inherent lack of depth. All the characters get their neat ‘n’ tidy narratives, all of which exist mainly to facilitate jokes.
Ridiculous jokes at that. Man, do the filmmakers love to stretch reality to fit absurd conceits. I can accept some of this, but the movie too often puts the characters in unrealistic situations just to attempt a laugh.
Take a scene in which the wives go to a yoga class. They get a substitute teacher who tells them to perform a bunch of sexually-titillating movements – and not a single one questions this despite his obviously pervy pleasure.
Give me one or two scenes like that and I won’t complain that much, but 2 comes packed with similar “WTF?” moments. 2 doesn’t care about logic; as long as it can cram in another tasteless, lame joke, it’ll do whatever it takes.
If the jokes were funnier, I probably wouldn’t care, but when confronted with the idiocy of Grown Ups 2, I find myself much more displeased. If the sight of an unattractive man clad only in pee-stained briefs who French kisses a dog amuses you, go for it. If not, skip this tedious clunker.
The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-
Grown Ups 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This gave us a good but unexceptional transfer.
Sharpness seemed adequate. On occasion, wide shots came across as a little soft and fuzzy, but the movie mostly appeared solid. The image usually displayed reasonably crisp and concise information. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and edge haloes were absent. Print flaws remained absent, as we found no specks, marks or other issues.
2 utilized a fairly naturalistic palette, and the disc reproduced those tones well. The colors consistently came across as nicely accurate and precise. They didn’t blast off the screen, but they showed good clarity. Black levels were reasonably deep and rich, and shadow detail showed nice delineation. Nothing here dazzled, but the image remained more than acceptable.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Grown Ups 2, it offered a mostly subdued experienced, as the soundfield displayed an emphasis on the forward channels. Music showed nice stereo imaging and moved the songs and score to the back speakers.
Most of the effects tended toward environmental material, though a few sequences added some pep; for instance, a scene in which Spade rolled through town while stuck in a huge tire used nice movement. That was an exception to the rule, though, as the majority of the mix stayed pretty laid-back.
Audio quality came across as good. Speech seemed natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was reasonably full, with clear tones overall. Effects were accurate and concise, without distortion or other concerns. Nothing here excelled, but the audio was fine for a comedy like this.
A handful of extras fill out the set, and we start with four featurettes. Look Who Stopped By goes for four minutes, 26 seconds and offers notes from director Dennis Dugan and actors Kevin James, Nick Swardson, Norm Crosby, David Spade, Alexander Ludwig, April Rose, Peter Dante, Aly Michalka, Paulina Gretzky, Maria Bello, David Henrie, Jimmy Tatro, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Taylor Lautner, Milo Ventimiglia, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Dan Patrick, Michael Kay, Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Jon Lovitz, and Maya Rudolph. This acts as a quick overview of all the new cast members in 2. It’s fluffy and almost completely devoid of content.
With The Feder House, we get a one-minute, 31-second piece with Dugan and production designer Aaron Osbourne. It gives us a brief tour of the set where the climactic party takes place. Despite the featurette’s brevity, it offers a few good notes.
Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride runs two minutes, 10 seconds and lets us see how they shot the scene in which Spade’s character rolls through town in a tire. Like “Feder”, it flies by pretty quickly but it boasts some good shots from the set.
Finally, the one-minute, 53-second Shaq and Dante: Police Force focuses on the characters played by those two actors. Actually, it mainly shows their antics on the set. It’s a wacky and insubstantial segment.
Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 28 seconds. Most of these provide short extensions to existing sequences, so don’t expect much fresh material. We do see that Roxanne runs her own clothing shop in town; that’s pretty much the only character note than pops up here.
The disc opens with ads for White House Down, One Direction: This Is Us and After Earth. Previews also includes promos for Last Vegas and The Mortal Instruments. No trailer for 2 appears here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Grown Ups 2. It includes the deleted scenes, the “Shaq” featurette and previews.
Although I went into Grown Ups 2 with low expectations, it still ended up as a disappointment. Packed with talented performers, it digs into nothing other than cheap, crude gags with nary a laugh to be found. Both picture and audio are good but the disc lacks substantial bonus materials. Maybe someone out there finds this movie funny, but I’m not that person.
Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars|| Number of Votes: 3|