MRR Review: "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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MRR Review: "Grown Ups 2"

-- Rating: PG-13 (crude and suggestive content, language and male rear nudity)
Length: 101 min
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Genre: Comedy

"Grown Ups 2" is the long-awaited follow-up to the hit 2010 buddy comedy film "Grown Ups." Both films were directed by Dennis Dugan and written by Fred Wolf and Adam Sandler. Like the other movies Adam Sandler has written, he has a starring role in both films, but he does not overshadow the roles played by Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade, who all share the spotlight effortlessly. The cast's chemistry is fantastic, and their roles as childhood friends are very believable. It's easy to forget you're watching a movie when you watch this dream team of comedians interacting with each other.

Adam Sandler plays Lenny Feder, a rich Hollywood talent agent who has three spoiled children with fashion designer Roxanne Chase. Eric Lamonsoff, played by Kevin James, has a wife named Sally and two children named Donna and Bean. Eric Lamonsoff, in an attempt to be seen as successful by his childhood friends, claims to be the co-owner of a company that manufactures lawn furniture. Kurt McKenzie, played by comedy genius Chris Rock, is a father who stays at home with the children while his wife Deanne, played by Maya Rudolph, is the family's primary source of income. Kurt and Deanne McKenzie are expecting a third child, and Deanne's mother still lives with the family. Rob Schneider plays Rob Hilliard, who has three very unusual daughters from three very unusual marriages, and his current wife, Gloria, is several decades older than he is. Marcus Higgins, played by David Spade, is the only one without children and constantly gets harassed by his friends for being a womanizing slacker.

In "Grown Ups 2," Lenny Feder decides that he wants to relocate his entire family so they can live in his hometown with his childhood friends and their families. However, the five childhood friends are not expecting the surprise that awaits them when they reunite in their hometown. Some of their old enemies have never left at all. Men who were bullies when the misfit friends were in school, are still bullies, but in more creative, humiliating ways, and their kids are just as troublesome as their parents. History repeats itself as the friends' kids have to contend with the bullies' kids to survive high school unscathed.

Old bully drama isn't all that awaits the five friends. Girls from their childhoods who have since become women resurface in the friends' lives, rekindling old crushes that infuriate their wives. However, as the friends settle in and get used to their hometown again, it turns out that not everything is as it seems. Sometimes, it's impossible to get away from the drama. Between wild encounters with drunken police officers on skis, hilarious party crashes and insane school bus drivers, the five friends learn that craziness will follow them wherever they go.

"Grown Ups" was wildly successful all over the world and went on to become Adam Sandler's most successful movie in his long career. Adam Sandler has high hopes for "Grown Ups 2" as well. Most of Adam Sandler's movies had closure, which makes it difficult to come up with a sequel, but the premise of "Grown Ups" left plenty of room for another film. The cast had fantastic chemistry, and the characters were surprisingly funny and rich for a rather typical set of characters in a buddy comedy film. In a recent interview, Chris Rock said that one of the reasons the film was so funny was because every actor was in direct competition with the rest of the cast to be the funniest in the film. Of course, it was a friendly, playful competition that just made all of them even funnier. When Adam Sandler called the five actors and asked them if they wanted to reprise their roles, they were enthusiastic from the start.

It was a brilliant move on Adam Sandler's part to stage their reunion in their hometown. Most people have nostalgic feelings about their childhood but few get to go back to the town they grew up in to relive it through their own children. It's a fantasy many people have, even if it never leaves their imagination. Adam Sandler takes those thoughts and runs with them. Few films manage to capture the way people feel about their childhood but "Grown Ups 2" does just that and more, delivering a heartfelt comedy that gives the first film a run for its money.

Rating: 3 of 5