Grown Ups 2 (2013)

GROWN UPS 2Release Date: July 12, 2013. Director: Dennis Dugan. Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade. Runtime: 102 min.

The mystery of why Adam Sandler has never previously done a sequel has been solved. “Grown Ups 2” is worst than his average movie, but it’s about on par with “Jack and Jill“. (That’s no compliment if you’ve seen “J&J”.) If Sandler has become one thing lately, it is reliable. We can always rely on him to bring us one of the year’s worst comedies. If anyone was hoping for a Sandler movie game-changer with this one, they’ll only receive something familiar. “Grown Ups” is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I don’t know how anyone could find pleasure in this.

There isn’t any plot. If one has trouble describing the plot of this film’s predecessor in casual conversation, they’ll damn well blow a blood vessel trying to explain this film’s plot. Even the people over at IMDb don’t know what this is about. Even the filmmakers don’t know what this one is about! The IMDb plot is this: After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny (Adam Sandler) finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, schizophrenic bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, and 400 costumed party crashers sometimes crazy follows you.

Yup. It’s as stupid as it sounds. It just feels like a bunch of comedy skits thrown together. Just because one’s main cast (Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade) is composed of SNL veterans, does not mean it should feel like a long episode of Saturday Night Live. I have been told that SNL sketches range from bad to good to the occasional great. The sketches here are just plain bad.

This film is at its funniest when Sandler channels mannerisms similar to Billy Madison. It’s also funny when Jon Lovitz shows up as a character that is very similar to the pervert he played in “Little Nicky”. Sandler is showing us that he and his friends can still be funny with their observational humour; so why is there so much god-awful, low-brow humour in here? The good moments are hidden in so much utter dreck, that they are cancelled out. At the somewhat funny jokes later on, I wanted to laugh – but I only could bring myself to smirk slightly. I knew that for that one decent joke, there will be twenty-five pathetic attempts at humour. Seeing Sandler’s comic genius in his recent movies is as rare as seeing the sun on a cloudy day; you might see it once or twice, but then again, your mind is probably just playing tricks on you.

“Grown Ups 2” reaches to the bottom of the barrel for its laughs. There’s many jokes including bodily functions: peeing, pooping, vomiting, masturbation, and a running joke about trying to burp, sneeze and fart simultaneously, coined by Kevin James… I’m not sure why anyone would laugh at it. But then again, some of the people in my audience laughed at the mere sight of the deer in Lenny’s bedroom. (Oh yeah. The thought of a deer being in a bedroom instead of the wild is real hysterical. Since he’s not supposed to be there, it’s an odd occurence that’s supposed to make the audience laugh, apparently!) At least the only recycled joke is someone peeing in the pool and a mist of blue shows up. This time, though, it doesn’t make much sense because 1) it’s a myth, and 2) if there was such a chemical, there’s really no need to put it one’s own private pool.

There are a lot of visual gags to “Grown Ups 2”. Markus has a thirteen year-old son (the terrible Alexander Ludwig) who has a beard. The joke seems to be that Ludwig is supposed to be terrible as a 21-year-old playing a 13-year-old; but there isn’t anything funny going on there. He has a bunch of “tattoos” that are practically permanent marker. It’s ridiculous. I’ll have an easier time believing that Maggie Grace can convincingly play an eighteen year-old. There’s also a main gag where the family of Malcolm (Tim Meadows) is all bald. Everyone is losing their hair. His wife and son have noses that look like they’re made out of Play Doh. I get it. They’re funny looking. They say “Whaaaaat?” whenever they get offended. It’s supposed to be funny. But nothing about them is funny. The joke is rather excruciating.

Since there are so many celeb cameos here, it makes me believe Sandler thinks featuring these celebrities in his movie is a punchline. There are many familiar faces; his buddies Nick Swardson and Peter Dante show up. (MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT THESE CAMEOS HAVE BEEN IN EVERY TV SPOT.) Shaquille O’Neal has an extended cameo. Will Forte, Andy Samberg and Taran Killam, among others, wash Lamansoff’s car, in a scene where you’ll just want to look away. To the sound of Warrant’s “Sweet Cherry Pie”, no less. Taylor Lautner shows up as an annoying Frat boy who barks, flips around, and has a stupid handshake with Milo Ventimiglia. (Even though he’s good on TV’s “Heroes”, I’ve grown to hate him after seeing him here and in “That’s My Boy“.) (END OF MINOR SPOILERS.) Sorry, Sandler, this won’t make many of us laugh. These people are celebrities. Celebrities are in movies, because they’re famous. It’s nothing new.

There is a line of stupidity movies just cannot cross. “Grown Ups 2” crosses it, and then some. I like stupid comedy. You’ll find a lot of stupidity going on in this god-awful film, but only a limited amount of comedy. Sandler’s latest is the poster child for stupid comedies. It begins with a deer pissing on Adam Sandler and ends with a seriously dumb bodily function joke. If that sounds like something you’d find hysterical; well, then, you might have to re-evaluate your taste in movies.

Score: 12/100

I do usually like Adam SandlerI’m considering watching all of Adam Sandler’s movies, and re-watch the ones I can stand to watch again, and review them. In the meantime, here are my reviews of some Adam Sandler films that have received good scores: 50 First Dates” (2004), “Billy Madison” (1995).

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Scary Movie 5 (2013)

Scary Movie 5Release Date: April 12, 2013. Director: Malcolm D. Lee. Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen. Runtime: 85 min. Tagline: Evil is coming. Bring protection.

This quote from Billy Madison, said by the Principal to Madison, sums up my thoughts on this film really well (I have paraphrased it extensively), “Mr. Zucker, your movie is one of the most insanely bad films I have ever seen. At no point in your god-awful excuse for a comedy were you even close to anything that could be considered a hilarious joke. Everyone who sat through this is now dumber for having seen it. I award your movie no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

In the parody sub-genre that’s already standing on a thin wire, Scary Movie 5 comes into play and curses the world. It’s not refreshing or witty. It’s sophomoric, tedious and, worst of all, painfully unfunny. The filmmakers reach to the very bottom-of-the-barrel for laughs. There are many fart jokes, and you’ll forget every joke one minute after they say it. The jokes are everything a ten year-old boy might find hysterical.

The jokes are unfunny, they don’t conquer any punch-line because there isn’t one, and they’re so, so predictable. If a man stands under a frying pan, what should one expect to happen? There’s also a scene shared between Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller where they are escaping from pot farmers after they steal a giant blunt from their harvest. As a hiding place, Dogg sees a cabin in the woods in the distance, and suggests they go there. Miller replies, “I don’t know, that reminds me of a horror movie I once saw…” Dogg would suggest a title, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre?” To which Miller says, “No, the one with the cabin in the woods!” This goes on for what feels like ten minutes, until Dogg gets fed up. He seems like a saviour to the audience for stopping this nonsense, but he’s still the one who’s in the movie. We get that, yes, there are 30+ horror movies that have a cabin in the woods in it. Thank you, Zucker, but do you have to show us that in this predictable, lazy and endlessly tedious exchange?

This is such an embarrassment, so much that, everyone involved should move to a country where movies are unheard of, change their name and live the rest of their lives there. Mostly because when this is as bad as Disaster Movie or Meet the Spartans, one knows their movie won’t be a success. When you request more Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, your movie is terrible. It’s also terrible if the strongest scene is a poor “comedic” sex scene shared between those two, where they inexplicably rustle around under the covers, and soon enough midgets and even a small horse join the fun. Whoever thought “Haha, hey, this is going to be really funny!” should be hit by a car, or, if that’s too extreme, fired.

Following the norm, spoof movies always have meaningless characters and a haphazard plot that just makes fun of movies that are way better than it. Some of the movies that are spoofed include: Black Swan, Mama, Evil Dead, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Paranormal Activity 4, The Cabin in the Woods, and Insidious, among others. This takes seventy minutes to get to the end, and it feels like a two-hour runtime. This is what torture feels like. The fact that the ten-minute blooper reel is miraculously more painful than the movie itself, is baffling.

There’s very little that this has to offer. It spoofs movie after movie, and even ones the writers aren’t smart enough to understand. One of these titles include Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky’s style of cinematography is mocked by filming Tisdale walking to an audition, and she just begins to walk in reverse. It’s not funny. It’s indubitably stupid. It’s no wonder that none of the original cast members are a part of this, and to make it even more offensive… They make an obnoxious character that is an obvious knock-off of Regina Hall’s Brenda Meeks (this character is called Kendra Brooks). Simon Rex is from the third and fourth Scary Movie, and he’s somehow even worse now. No one in this movie is funny. At all. Especially not Ashley Tisdale. Who would have thought one person could miss Anna Farris so, so much?

There’s little good that can be said about this movie. It’s in focus, sure. It’s the first spoof movie (and hopefully the last) that mocks 2013’s Mama and Evil Dead. However, that’s also one of the movie’s most idiotic choices. Evil Dead might be considered a remake, but it’s more of a reboot and since it was only released April 5, that means the filmmakers have to do a few last-minute, amateurish adjustments to fit it into the storyline. Also, if Evil Dead is still in theatres, wouldn’t it only be logical to go and watch the real thing and not this piece of crap? Mama is also not a prominent horror movie in popular culture just yet, and it isn’t nearly as popular as Insidious or Paranormal Activity. These are some of the filmmaker’s biggest screw-ups because the audience likes to be aware of which movie  is being mocked.

The fact that this movie is not R-rated is an absolute farce. There is one f-bomb and non-stop sexual humour throughout. (Even some of the swear words throughout are bleeped, which is RIDICULOUS for a Hollywood production.)

The movie’s masterwork could be the narrator, who might or might not be Morgan Freeman. It isn’t. It’s an impersonator. It’s really stupid. Filmmakers, if you can’t get Morgan Freeman to narrate your movie, either follow Seth MacFarlane’s decision and settle for Patrick Stewart, or, I don’t know, don’t have a narrator at all!

This is not only the worst addition to the Scary Movie franchise, Worst Movie of the Year Contender, but a Worst Film of All-Time Contender. I also sincerely hope this is where the franchise ends. This movie makes me want to find the Book of the Dead, recite every phrase in that book, and unleash demons onto the world. I’ll read it in Latin, English, Greek, French, Clik-Clak, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Cherokee, Taushiro; all languages so it wakes up foreign demons, and it stops at least some of the world from experiencing this lazy and dreadful movie.

0/100

Billy Madison – A film review by Daniel Prinn – One of Sandler’s most endurable films.

Billy Madison

Release Date: February 10, 1995

Director: Tamra Davis

Stars: Adam Sandler, Darren McGavin, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras

Runtime: 89 min

Tagline: Billy Madison’s going back to school… Way back.

 

Adam Sandler started his career impressing audiences with such mindless comedies as this film, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer; and then he sort of went downhill eventually(well, around 2010 at least), but I do find comedy in most of his work. Not a lot of his films have a substantial plot, but a lot are quite guilty pleasure. The only films on Rotten Tomatoes that have a ‘certified fresh’ label, are ones that are not of his Happy Madison production company (have you gotten the hint yet, Sandler?) – Reign Over Me, Punch-Drunk Love and Funny People. This one, is my second favourite mindless Adam Sandler comedy.

Billy Madison is a idiotic man-child who thinks he is getting the family hotel company. When Billy finds out that a cruel, unfunny person high up in the corporation, Eric, is going to get the company –and Billy has something to say about that. Billy comes up with this deal with his father; that if he redoes Grades 1 through 12 (two weeks for each grade) in a 24-week period, the family business will be handed down to him. He attempts this with all of his funny shenanigans like putting dog shit in a paper bag and setting it on fire and putting it on Old Man Ted’s porch, and making new relationships in the running.

I’m writing this review after multiple viewings. It is one of the most watchable films on Sandler’s filmography; as it is quite funny, but a little bit of plot would help here too. The ‘Back to school’ song is just always funny, and it’s a pretty good comedy – as some jokes still made me really laugh even after multiple viewings, and a lot of the jokes made me laugh a whole lot when I first watched it.

The story is very, very predictable – but a lot of the material here is memorable. A lot of the characters are hit and miss, as Billy and his two man-child friends are the most likeable, and Chris Farley’s character is fairly funny, also. Some of it feels like it tries a bit too hard to be funny, but a lot of it really is. The jokes are good, as the hits definitely outweigh the misses.

The film most definitely doesn’t deserve its standing harsh status of a mere 16/100 on MetaCritic, though, as it attempts to have a heart – but not an efficient plot, for that matter.

Sandler fans would love this, and maybe more recent fans trying to give him a chance, stick with this one or Happy Gilmore, those are his two finest, as they are films that offer substantial entertainment and that’s why I appreciate them.  It’s a good comedy that can make me laugh a lot, but I may have worn it out a bit too much. Watch it if you want to watch a comedy with no substantial plot and a rather predictable story that you could predict how the whole thing plays out from reading its plot on IMDb; but skip it if Sandler rambling in gibberish is not your idea of a good time.

70/100

Jack and Jill – A film review by Daniel Prinn

Released November 11, 2011Director: Dennis DuganStars: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al PacinoRuntime: 91 minTagline: His twin sister is coming for the holidays… and it ain’t pretty.

Sandler is back… and it ain’t pretty.

Jack (Adam Sandler) lives with his lovely wife (Katie Holmes), their daughter and an adopted Indian son. Soon enough, it’s Thanksgiving and it’s time for Jill’s (Adam Sandler with a high pitched voice) annual visit. Jill is Jack’s “nocturnal, like a bat” twin sister, and she keeps prolonging her vacation because she’s lonely and she only has her bird, Poopsie, to keep her company; henceforth prolonging this god awful film.

I thought it was rather dull, and the plot was stupid. I could count the memorable gags and one-liners on a hand with no fingers. I wanted this film to “pa-go-go” away. It’s a little better than Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, but not by very much. Though, the only good thing about this film is the reappearance of Otto, the homeless caddy from Sandler’s  classic, Happy Gilmore. Too bad it’s still not enough to save this train wreck.

Oh Al Pacino, why would you associate yourself with this film? Did you want to play a parody of yourself? Did Sandler hold you hostage and not let you go until you said you’d star in it?

I love Sandler’s earlier work (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Waterboy), so I hope he can redeem himself soon. Though, this film does not help in his road for redemption.

Avoid this one like influenza, boys and girls. It’s utterly crappy.

Score12/100

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods

Release Date: April 13, 2012

Director: Drew Goddard

Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison

Runtime: 95 min

Tagline: You think you know the story.

As I’m not very experienced at reviewing films just yet, I thought the best way for not spoiling that much of the film is by keeping it kind of short and sweet.

A group of young adults go for a getaway vacation to a, you guessed it, cabin in the woods; where things start out alright, but they soon turn into a wicked nightmare.

It’s quite admirable that this has some reminiscent themes of two extremely different films: Scream and The Truman Show.

It does have some delightful twists and turns and was a real pleasant and fresh surprise, and is the greatest horror gem of 2012 I’ve seen thus far. It’s one of those films where I walked out of the theatre and wanted to watch it again, and told all of my friends to see it, and searched the DVD release date (which by the way is September 18). If I had to pick a flaw I guess I’d saw the pacing was a bit off. All of the cast fitted their roles perfectly, so the casting director shall get a gold star from me. This film was filmed in 2009 and was put on the shelf because of budgetary issues and the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, but I’m so glad they didn’t do that because I would have hated to see this great horror flick to have potentially bad 3D effects.

The film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford (that schmuck from Billy Madison) and a sweet cameo from a horror icon (seriously, don’t even do research, you’ll want to be surprised when you watch it).

You don’t want to miss this horror treat from the minds of Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) and Joss Whedon (The Avengers), and is Goddard’s directorial debut. It’s a must-see, has big scares can be really funny at times, and is the most original horror film I have seen since Scream.

90/100