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While We Got Older, Adam Sandler Never Grew Up: Or, Why You Shouldn't Support 'Grown Ups 2'


The world somehow asked for a Grown Ups 2. The first film grossed $160 million dollars in this country, and with success like that, Hollywood still gives Adam Sandler a ton of money to fund awful comedies for him and his buddies to star in. Just watching an Sandler movie makes you feel like your IQ has dropped 20 points, and sad to say, we brought this mess onto ourselves.

Twenty years ago, Sandler was becoming a popular figure during the supposedly "lean" years of Saturday Night Live. When Sandler wasn't acting out characters that seem to be inspired by mental conditions or singing songs about current events, he was building up popularity with the audience. When the season was over, he would hit up the low-budget film scene.

Aside from an appearance in Mixed Nuts, which was awful, and having a key role in Airheads, we didn't see a Sandler-written film until 1995's Billy Madison. Written with longtime collaborator Tim Herlihy, Bill Madison introduced to the Sandler character we we've now known for years.

The character Billy Madison is 28-year-old who acts like he's 7. He spends his days goofing off, drinking beer and making fart jokes. When the time comes for Billy to replace his father, the owner of a successful hotel chain, he gets serious about life. Mind you, Billy does this while falling love with a third grade teacher. You can guess how the movie ends. For adults (or for that matter, film critic) this film was brushed off. For 10-year-old kids, Billy Madison was comedy gold. Add in some stupid, inane Sandler songs and a few of his SNL friends, and we have a cult legend.

After Sandler was let go from SNL, movies became his staple. Happy Gilmore came out the next year. Following the Sandler formula, we meet a "lovable" but short-tempered failure of a hockey player having to deal with real life. This time, Sandler's character needs to get his grandma out of trouble and starts playing professional golf to raise some much-need cash. Once more, another love interest enters and so on and so forth. We saw this same format again with the Wedding Singer and then with The Waterboy. Every summer, we got the same mediocre-to-good comedy story with Sandler portraying guys with very little work ethic who manage to rise to the top. He plays characters that have very little redeeming value other than the ability to make funny sounds. Yet we all loved it.

Then Sandler decided to get serious (like a special episode of Family Ties) in his comedies. Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds in particular tried to show Sandler characters with that asked audiences to form emotional attachments to the characters, when Sandler fans had really only come to the theater because they hoped to see the dick and fart jokes they had come to expect from the actor. Those films had awful sappy endings. It was at that point when the kids of the 1990s outgrew Sandler.

Now with films like Grown Ups and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, we see dreadful premises acted out with faded comedy and sitcom stars that were popular 20 years ago. Using Kevin James or David Spade to suck in the mainstream America comedy audience will not make a terrible film funnier. That's where we are now.

Growing up, I loved comedy movies. In fact, my parents only bought or rented movies that were either Disney films or comedies starring members of SCTV or SNL. I grew up loving Sandler, but along the way, I grew out of him. He was like dinosaurs. When I was 7, I had tons of dinosaur books and toys, but now, I barely ever think about them.

A few weeks ago, I bought Happy Gilmore on DVD. It was a cheap buy, $5 at Best Buy. Reviewing that movie, I know why I loved it. Correction, I still love it. It's a funny film but far from a great film. Usually, you see a comedian expand his jokes or try to be more than some overgrown 10 year old. Sandler never really did. Yes, he did show versatility in Spanglish, Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, but he never did this in his comedies.

I implore you all to avoid supporting Grown Ups 2, another awful Sandler-and-friends comedy. You're only feeding the Hollywood machine that makes terrible, bland comedies. Sandler films were funny; I am not taking that away. But like a perishable food, that comedy had an expiration date.
While We Got Older, Adam Sandler Never Grew Up: Or, Why You Shouldn't Support 'Grown Ups 2' Reviewed by Seth Pohorence on 6/26/2013 Rating: 5

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