There’s an old lady who farts a lot in the new Adam Sandler flick, Grown Ups. Seriously … she farts a lot.
She doesn’t just stand there and let it rip like most old lady caricatures in movies often do. For starters, she performs the old stand-by, “fart and blame the dog” trick, which is always a knee-slapper. She also comes up with one I’ve never seen before: Farting into a cup phone—two cups connected by a string—so that somebody can hear a very clear and intimate fart while in another room. She blazes new trails in ass-blast comedy.
That’s actually the best thing I can say about the new Sandler film: It’s particularly innovative in its portrayal of gastrointestinal humor. Beyond that, it represents one of my favorite slob comedy men, and many of his less talented friends, slumming in another wasteful effort from director and Sandler go-to guy Dennis Dugan (Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Happy Gilmore).
Sandler plays a Hollywood agent who, as grown men often do, gets back together with his childhood basketball team at the funeral for their beloved coach. Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock play the buddies, and they all represent Screenwriting 101 stereotypes. Spade is the sex fiend girl magnet (Yeah, right!), Schneider is the new-age type with the wife 30 years older than him, James is the big guy with a wimpy core, and Rock is the homebody husband who can’t cook worth a squat.
After the funeral they all wind up staying at a lake house, where they try to skip rocks, eat dehydrated bananas cooked by Schneider, land face first in piles of dog shit, and, yes, listen to grandma fart repeatedly.
In essence, this is Sandler doing his duty for his comedy pals, letting them all ride his coattails and experience some box-office success that might get them some better pull in future pitch meetings. James had a modest hit with Paul Blart: Mall Cop, as did Rock with Death at a Funeral, but they didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Spade hasn’t had any film success since Black Sheep with Chris Farley 14 years ago. Schneider is just a parasite on Sandler’s butt at this point.
Sandler is basically a cool guy who wants to help his bros get paid. Unfortunately, we the victims must endure the supposed entertainment his extremely unfunny friends crap out on their journeys toward fat, Sandler-endorsed paychecks.
Can’t you just hear Sandler’s phone call to Spade pitching Grown Ups?
Sandler’s voice: “Hey Spade, it’s Sandler. Where you been, you crazy asshole? That commercial you did with Farley really sucked. It creeped me out. Come on, the guy’s dead, you shouldn’t be raiding the tomb. Yeah, homage, my ass, you just wanted to get the big money from DIRECTV.”
Sandler continues: “Listen, enough about you, I need a hit. Let’s go hang out on the lake with James and Rock. Yeah, yeah, Schneider can come, too. What? No, we don’t have a script. We’ll just wing it. … I don’t really feel like working on this one, ya know? Yeah, we got paddleboats. Listen, I’ll bring the guitar and play you the thousandth version of ‘The Hanukkah Song’ between takes. Yeah, I threw Howard Stern into one of the verses, that rat bastard. Oh, bad news, you have to show your ass in this one. Hahahaha!”
Yes, this film features David Spade’s naked ass.
Sandler’s last film was the impressive Funny People directed by Judd Apatow. That movie actually lampooned Sandler’s slob comedy persona while giving him a chance to stretch the dramatic wings a bit. It was, without a doubt, one of the best films Sandler has ever been a part of, but nobody farted into a cup in that one, so it tanked.
So much for Sandler trying to expand his horizons.