Craig's First Take: "Grown Ups 2"

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The all-star comedy cast from Grown Ups (2010) returns for more summertime laughs in the sequel, which is again directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Adam Sandler. Lenny (Sandler) has relocated his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up. This time around, the grown ups are the ones learning lessons from their kids on a day notoriously full of surprises: the last day of school.
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Craig's First Take: "Grown Ups 2"

If selling out for a paycheck is a form of art, then “Grown Ups 2” can be considered a masterpiece. These guys get to do everything they love here-namely nothing, except if you want to call making snarky jokes at easy targets and hanging out something.

There’s no story to speak of other than the fact that Rob Schneider decided not to return for this one, something to do with conflicts over his now cancelled CBS show and the fact that he wanted more money. And really isn’t that the only thing that matters- the getting of more money? That’s where the best comedy comes from, right? Take note “This is the End”. Why did you put so much effort in when really you could be making sequels with no purpose and with the same jokes you’ve been telling since pre-school?

What passes for characters here? Lenny (Adam Sandler) now lives in the country with the wife (Salma Hayek) and kids and they ponder the idea of having a fourth child. Higgins (David Spade) meets some thug of a long-lost son (Alexander Ludwig) he never knew he had. Kurt (Chris Rock, the saddest movie career of all) now has a get out of jail free card because his wife (Maya Rudolph) forgot the anniversary. He also has a hyperactive kid with poopy diapers. And Eric (Kevin James), master of the fart-burp, is spending more time with his mom (Georgia Engel) to hide from his wife (Maria Bello). This all ends in a big 80’s party on Lenny’s back lawn that turns into an overlong fistfight. That’s it, thanks for coming everybody!

Oh wait, there’s supposedly comedy here. The guys make fun of fat kids, butch women, and gays, turn to shit and piss jokes, have a (hilarious?) scene where they have to jump off a cliff naked into a lake and land on (insert part of anatomy here), and there’s a bunch of other broad slapstick. The rest is all cameos by guys who can now only hope to attain goof acting roles (Shaquille O’Neal as a cop, Steve Austen as a former bully, Taylor Lautner as the leader of some douchebag fraternity giving the guys a hard time), ESPN anchors (Dan Patrick, Chris Berman), Sandler regulars (the constantly broad and irritating Nick Swardson, the underrated Colin Quinn) and the occasional real actor (Steve Buscemi). It’s all easy and breezy here, unless you actually like to laugh, in which case lower expectations considerably. Or if you’re still a Sandler fan…well keep enjoying your time at the bottom of the barrel.