I’m not kidding. The sequel to the comedy that invited us all to get chocolate wasted is even more aimless and loose than the 2010 original, which at least had the decency to give its characters a weekend-at-the-cabin through-line that must have seemed too ambitious once this follow-up hit the page. That’s assuming “Grown Ups 2” ever did hit the page — the majority of the movie feels as unfettered as most Judd Apatow comedies.
Mostly, “Grown Ups 2” feels as if the cast and crew had decided they’d had so much fun making the original “Grown Ups” that they felt obligated to come back and see if lightning could strike twice. Big surprise: not even close.
It’s easy to pick out what works best in “Grown Ups 2,” not that there’s much: the cast, sloppy and careless as they often are, clearly get off on hanging out with each other. Why else would they reconvene three years later to produce such a shoddy piece of uninspired “entertainment”? But picking out what’s worst? Yeah, that might take awhile.
Could it be Nick Swardson’s utterly indefensible caricature of a drug-addled, closetedly gay school bus driver? The non-stop barrage of pee, poop, puke and fart jokes that these 40-something guys are 30 years too old to indulge in? The fact that damn near every former “SNL” cast member short of John Belushi makes a cameo? Or is it just that Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph had so much more to do in the first “Grown Ups” that watching them try to reignite the spirit is borderline commiserable?
All would be forgiven if even a little bit of this was funny, but “Grown Ups 2” settles for stupid instead. On a lighter note, Rob Schneider does not appear in the film due to “scheduling conflicts.” Congratulations, Rob — your feigned lack of free time may have just made you seem like the most grown up one of them all.
★½ (out of ★★★★)
Rated PG-13 for language, violence and tons of bathroom humor. 101 minutes, 2013.
Director: Dennis Dugan. Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James.