Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s an idiom I can see perfectly framed and hung above the office door at Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. Marketing mythology says the person who came up with the idea of adding that third word—“repeat”—to the instructions on a shampoo bottle nearly doubled the sales of their company’s product. Sandler has done well with the very same tactic by repeating a well-honed template in virtually all of the movies produced by his company.
For starters, don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first Grown Ups. This movie’s plot, four middle-aged men who want to relive the glory days, becomes flotsam and jetsam tossed down the drain to make way for an endless lather of frenetic slapstick setups featuring grown men receiving impacts to the crotch, diving naked from a cliff and partying like it’s 1989.
As usual Sandler is the semi-sensible pack leader of the group. Reprising his role as Lenny, he is the father of three children and the husband to Roxanne (Salma Hayek)—a woman whose intelligence and beauty confirms the backstory that her husband must have made some good money in Hollywood before returning to his California hometown. Lenny’s life-changing move was based on a desire to be closer to his buddies Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade) who serve as the clowns that often surround the characters Sandler plays in his films.
This single day-in-the-life of the foursome begins with Lenny awoken by a deer sniffing at the side of his bed. Embracing small town life, his young daughter Becky (Alexys Sanchez) left the front door of their mansion open so animals could come visit. After the deer urinates and ransacks the house, the family is awake, partly dressed, and not quite ready for what the next twenty-four hours will throw at them.
With a cast of literally hundreds (Sandler must have every Hollywood notable in his smartphone directory) it’s impossible to detail each brief scene of these guys attempting to reclaim their youth, their manhood or both—as is the case with the naked cliff dive that results after they are challenged by a group of college thugs led by Taylor Lautner.
Parents thinking a film about fathers with children must be suitable for families might want to think again. Yes, there is a scene at a school dance recital with close to two-dozen grade school girls, but we discover the men’s real interest isn’t to support Lenny’s daughter but instead to ogle the lack of “support” offered by the heavily endowed teacher’s underwear. Acting like 8-year-olds, the only other thing besides breasts and buns that fascinates these boys is learning how to burp and fart in unison. Constantly spewing sexual innuendo and scatological remarks, they also engage in dangerous and anti-social behavior that may be enticing for children to mimic with the hopes of generating the same comedic effect.
Culminating with an 80s-themed party on Lenny’s massive property, the crass revelry becomes even more juvenile when a mob of angry college students arrive and engage the “adults” in full hand-to-hand battle. The fists fly between all genders and ages with some bloody injuries seen as consequences. In the midst of this, Lenny challenges a former grade-school foe (Steve Austin) to a fight in an attempt to show his own son how to handle bullies. Thankfully the two men find a way to resolve the feud without blows in one of the few moments of relative sanity in this movie.
In the end Sandler (who co-wrote the script) serves up his familiar smarmy family dinner scene and offers a summary of what we can learn after a day in Sandlerland. It’s a feeble attempt to rinse the previous 101 minutes of slimy stupidity from our minds and try to forget what we saw before we are tempted to lather up with the next Happy Madison production.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
Violence: This film contains many scenes of physical slapstick violence within a comedic context, including: An inebriated man drives a school bus; later he is tied up in ropes and made to act like a puppet with other men pulling the “strings”. An unconscious man is tossed on the floor of the bus and hits his head against the back when it accelerates. An adult repeatedly mocks an obese child who is bullying another child. A father calls his son “fugly” and yells at his daughter on two occasions. Many jokes mock obese people, bald men and various types of women. Students at a high school spray graffiti on the principal’s car and later douse him in blue paint on two occasions. A teacher throws a ball and knocks a student from the end of a bleacher. Characters drive dangerously. A man inserts himself into a large tire and a friend rolls the tire down a street where it narrowly misses being hit by vehicles. Characters vomit. A man working at an ice cream stand throws a metal scoop at a woman that hits her on the head knocking her unconscious. Peer pressure and threats are used to make four men jump naked off a cliff and into the water below. Deliberate and accidental property damage occurs. A massive fight occurs when a mob of young adults threaten members of the community at a yard party. A deer causes havoc and bodily injury. Pepper spray gets squirted into a man’s eyes. A teen uses a knife to threaten others.
Sexual Content: After discovering he has a teenaged son from a previous sexual relationship a man uses a derogatory name when referring to the boy’s mother. Masturbation jokes and references are heard. A man pretending to be a fitness instructor asks the women in the class to move in ways that he find stimulating; later when the actual male instructor arrives the women make sexually suggestive remarks to him before he tells them he’s gay. A male gym teacher climbs a rope and we see a close-up of his clothed crotch. Various women are seen in bikinis and men in swim trunks. An intoxicated bikini-clad woman embraces two teen boys repeatedly. Men remove their clothes and jump from a cliff—rear male nudity seen. Men and women in tight clothing work at a carwash and move suggestively. A man, with his eyes closed, is about to kiss another man but accidentally ends up kissing and licking a dog. Other characters sensually lick each other. Accidental pregnancies are discussed.
Language: The script contains infrequent mild profanities and crude anatomical terms. A conjunction between a sexual expletive and the word “ugly” is used. Sexual innuendo and scatological terms are heard frequently. Characters verbally bully one another.
Drugs/Alcohol: Frequent alcohol use. Substance abuse is the apparent cause of school bus driver’s impaired state. An intoxicated woman offers two teen boys beer. A medical doctor drinks alcohol from a flask. Jokes are made about drinking and driving. A father offers nighttime cold medicine to his young daughter in an effort to put her to sleep quickly. Beer is force fed to a dog.
Other: Many scenes feature scatological humor. A scared deer in a house urinates on two family members. A man makes a rude remark about eating with his posterior. A man pulls his pants down and uses a display toilet in a department store. Male characters demonstrate how to burp and fart simultaneously. A man fixes a chocolate soft serve ice cream machine but the camera angle makes it appear as if he’s defecating. A man urinates in a swimming pool.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
Portrayals of men acting like school kids are often seen in movies. Do you feel there really are men “stuck” in the past who act like teens or even children? Do we see this same portrayal of women in movies? Why or why not?
How are the women in this movie portrayed? Would you want to be married to any of the male characters in this film?
This movie is a sequel to Grown Ups. These actors have lent their talents to these other films: Bedtime Stories (Adam Sandler), Here Comes The Boom (Kevin James), Madagascar (voice of Chris Rock) and The Emperor’s New Groove (voice of David Spade).
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: Grown Ups 2
Release Date: 5 November 2013
Grown Ups 2 releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet Digital Copy) with the following extras:
- Eight deleted scenes
- “Shaq and Dante: Police Force” Featurette
- “Look Who Stopped By” – A look at the cameos throughout the film
- “Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride”—David Spade prepares to be rolled down the hill in a tire
- The Feder House” – Construction of the sound stage where the Feder house was built