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edge staff writer


Grown Ups 2' even worse than you think

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Sandler's terrible latest more of the same

I think it's safe to say that Adam Sandler has lost his fastball.

While Hollywood insists on continuing to treat Mr. Sandler like the box office powerhouse he once was, the truth is that he stopped making good (or even mediocre) movies a decade ago. His ridiculous shtick his essential Sandlerness, if you will has reached the point of being utterly devoid of any real humor. His movies just aren't funny.

So why not make a sequel to one of those terrible movies? A sequel that somehow manages to surpass the first installment in terms of awful unwatchability? A sequel that once again harvests all of Sandler's buddies and throws them together, resulting in a film that only exists to justify the bunch of them hanging out for a month or two on the studio's dime?

Why not make 'Grown Ups 2'?

This would be the point where you'd ordinarily find a plot synopsis, but frankly, I'm not sure that there's even a plot to summarize in this movie. It's Sandler, Kevin James ('Here Comes the Boom'), Chris Rock ('What to Expect When You're Expecting') and David Spade (TV's 'Rules of Engagement') all reprising their roles from the first 'Grown Ups.' I'd give you their character names, but I can't remember them. I could look them up on IMDB, but the truth is that their names don't matter even a little bit. They all live with their families in the same small town in which they grew up. And they're having trouble with the realities of getting older. Sandler has issues dealing with his kids and throws a party at his house. A deer urinates on him at one point.

That's pretty much it.

'Grown Ups 2' doesn't have much in the way of a storyline, per se. It's more a stitched together pastiche of rejected ideas from Sandler's 'Saturday Night Live' days. If you can imagine one of those 10-minutes-to-one sketches the ones that happen after the second musical break only slightly less coherent and 90 minutes long, that's what this movie feels like. It is a bunch of barely-connected bits shoved together with little regard for narrative.

It is 10 pounds of Sandler st in a five-pound bag.

The supporting cast is the usual mix of Sandler regulars along with a few people with actual talent doing a little slumming. Salma Hayek ('Savages') apparently owes someone money; it's the only possible reason for her lowering herself like this. Maria Bello (TV's 'Touch') is another one who could seemingly do better. There's a random Shaquille O'Neal sighting; the werewolf guy from 'Twilight' shows up too. Sandler hangers-on like Nick Swardson, Allen Covert and Peter Dante are also in attendance.

There's the old-school 'SNL' contingent Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn and Jon Lovitz all make appearances. Even Ellen Cleghorne shows up. Some of the new guard is there too Andy Samberg, Tarran Killam and Bobby Moynihan, along with the Lonely Island guys.

Again and this cannot be stressed enough there is no plot here. It's a series of ridiculous jokes built around a group of stunted man-children that exist in a world seemingly without any real consequences. They do what they want when they want and everything is somehow OK, whether they're stealing school buses, trashing a K-Mart or (seriously) engaging in a full-scale brawl with some fraternity.

'Grown Ups 2' is a colossal waste of time. Every dollar spent to see it is directly contributing to Sandler making another crappy movie. It's a vicious cycle that, unfortunately, we seem to be unable to stop.

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