"Grown Ups 2" opens with a deer urinating on Adam Sandler. The less sophisticated jokes come later.
This is not to say the movie is funny, or not funny. You either laugh at a deer peeing on Sandler, or you don't.
It's to identify "Grown Ups" as One Of Those. It's not "Punch Drunk Love," where's he's trying something daring. Or "Funny People," or "Zohan," where he's working with Judd Apatow, or someone who can say, "maybe we could get by with fewer scenes of the peeing deer."
"Grown Ups 2" is one of those unsupervised movies that Sandler makes with his posse - every guy he's ever worked with at "SNL," a few sports broadcasters, some ex-ballplayers (Shaq) and the cohort that made "Bucky Larson, Born to be a Star" - the least attended (per theaters) title in the history of American movies.
Haters will say all of these movies are equally bad, but that's not so. Some, like "Jack and Jill," are worse. The original "Grown Ups," Sandler's most successful since the '90s, was a borderline sweet family picture that gave generous screen time to Chris Rock and Kevin James and other folks who can get laughs without being peed upon. And it had a vaguely engaging plot about middle-aged family men taking account of their lives 20 years after high school.
So the movie showed a little discipline, a little heart. "Grown Ups 2," not so much. It's a plotless free-for-all about Sandler and his high school buddies throwing an '80s theme party, and it's a string of slap-stick gags that gives each of the star's friends a pratfall and paycheck.
As a way to arrange a movie, it's a disaster, but on some level you have to respect a guy who keeps his pals working, especially in this economy.
Having said that, doesn't Dan Patrick have a job?
I think I could have lived without that close-up of his junk.
In fact, I'd have preferred the urinating deer.
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Grown Ups 2
Directed by Dennis Dugan. With Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Kevin James, Maria Bello. Distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Running time: 101 minutes.
Parents' guide: PG-13.
Playing at: Area theaters.