Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Grown Ups 2.”
The Movie: “Grown Ups 2”
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock
Director: Dennis Dugan
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, schizo bus drivers, drunk cops on skis and four-hundred costumed party crashers, sometimes crazy follows you.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7 percent
Brown: *LONG, deep sigh* We’ll get through this, Joe. Sandler Month will end. It has to end, right? RIGHT?!
What started out as a lark has turned into a personal hell for Froemming and I.
“Pixels” was an annoying jab at our childhood favorites like Pac-Man and Q*bert.
“Jack and Jill,” that was our Vietnam. I’m not lying when I said there was a point in watching that movie that I no longer wanted to do the JOE-DOWN. In a way, I think it made Froemming and I closer friends through shared trauma. Am I being hyperbolic right now? Yes. But it is that bad a movie.
Surely, “Grown Ups 2” can’t be that bad, right?
Well, best way to put it: If Sandler Month was “Dante’s Inferno,” “Jack and Jill” was the ninth level of hell while “Grown Ups 2” is somewhere between the fifth and eighth circle of hell.
Last week’s movie started with a fart joke. “Grown Ups 2” begins with a deer pissing on Adam Sandler. So maybe we are back in the ninth circle of hell.
*LONG, deep sigh* We’ll get through this, Joe. Sandler Month will end. It has to end, right? RIGHT?!
Froemming, give us some thoughts while I go jump off a 35-foot rock cliff into hopefully shallow water.
Froemming: We never learn from our mistakes. This is a transcript of a conversation between Brown and I after “Jack and Jill:”
Brown: What is this? Did you ever get the feeling like you’ve watched a Sandler movie but you didn’t? I’m all annoyed here.
Froemming: Ahh. *deep sigh*
Froemming: What is this? What are we doing? What in god’s name are we doing?
Froemming: OUR LIVES!! What kind of lives are these? We’re like children. We’re not men.
Brown: No, we’re not. We’re not men.
Froemming: We come up with all these stupid reasons to torture one another with terrible movies.
Brown: I know. I know. That’s what I do. That’s what I do.
Froemming: Are we going to be reviewing crappy movies when we’re 60 like two idiots?
Brown: We should be watching good movies when we’re 60.
Froemming: We’re pathetic — you know that?
Brown: Yeah, like I don’t know that I’m pathetic.
Froemming: Why can’t I be normal?
Brown: Yes. Me, too. I wanna be normal. Normal.
Froemming: Well, this is it. I’m really gonna do something about my life, you know? You know, I think I’m gonna try “getting” subtitled movies again. So what if they distract me with text on the screen, right in the middle of the action. Brown, I am really gonna make some changes.
Brown: Yes. Changes.
Froemming: I’m serious about it.
Brown: Think I’M not?
Froemming: I’m not kidding.
Brown: Me too.
We then watched “Grown Ups 2.”
And I was (REDACTED) livid.
I watched this at the gym, like “Jack and Jill,” and once again I was embarrassed to be seen watching this crap in public. I felt the angry glares as this deer pissed all over Sandler’s teenage son in the shower and honestly, would have been less humiliated if I was watching porn instead.
I thought it could not get worse after the last movie. Brown and I differ here, because I think it is just as bad, if not worse, than “Jack and Jill.”
This movie was so bad, I had to do a pre-venting article just to calm the (REDACTED) down.
Brown, as I make Colin Quinn adjust an ice cream machine so it looks like he is shitting all over the place, why don’t you kick this off?
Brown: So before we begin, some quick points.
First, Froemming and I have never seen the original “Grown Ups.” Second, I picked this movie because of “The Worst Idea of All Time” podcast which had its hosts watch this movie once a week for AN ENTIRE YEAR. So you know, at least Froemming and I aren’t the dumbest people around for committing to just a month of Sandler.
Final point: Froemming and I are rubes because we are putting money in Sandler’s pocket for doing these movies.
The movie comes on and as soon as I saw Happy Madison Productions on screen, I paraphrased David Cross while texting Froemming: “After this month, I’d rather hear the death rattle of my only child than watch another Happy Madison movie.”
The first scene comes on and it’s a deer that is in Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek’s bedroom for NO (REDACTED) REASON gets spooked and pees all over our lead.
I stand by what I said to Froemming.
Froemming: The deer pees all over Sandler’s teenage son in the shower, which I imagine is R. Kelly’s favorite scene in any film he has ever watched.
Brown: Before we move on, are we even gonna bother putting character names in the review? Because I legit don’t know and don’t care what the characters’ names were. I’m going by the real names of the actors.
Froemming: No. No I am not. Now quit interrupting me and prolonging this hellish exercise in what has become the most toxic friendship I ever had.
I am this close to breaking up with you, Brown!
Anyway, Sandler chases the deer out of the house, but not before it causes more damage to the house than what Brown and I make in a year combined. This is the stupid money Sandler makes and is able to waste, and I want to burn the world down thinking about that.
To get the deer out of the house, Sandler uses his daughter’s monkey doll as bait. And this comes back up again later, so I had to type that sentence.
What have I become, my sweetest friend…
The doll is destroyed, and the family moves on to the last day of school! And Sandler ends up driving the school bus because the main driver is Nick Swardson, the shame of Minnesota, who I am sure showed up to work wasted beyond belief and they just rolled with it.
Brown: First, with the deer, this movie would have been completely worth it had one of Sandler’s children been impaled by the deer. Yes, Adam Sandler has convinced me that filicide would be funny.
Also, Sandler’s oldest kid has a crush on the cutest girl in school and Sandler makes a masturbation joke at his kid at the breakfast table. Come the (REDACTED) on, man. Besides, Hannibal Burress is better at those jokes.
Now, I wrote many, many times in my notes that someone needs to bring Nick Swardson to a hospital. Throughout the movie, Swardson passes out from drug use, gets hit by a runaway truck tire, sleeps in a bed and poops in a display toilet at a department store… I know there’s more but I can’t remember. If this isn’t a man’s cry for help, I don’t know what is.
So Sandler drives the school bus. He takes the kids to school and picks up his buddies Chris Rock and Kevin James.
Imagine, if you will, that Sandler would get into an accident while driving a bus full of children, something he’s not licensed to do nor was hired to do by a school district. His family and the school district would be bankrupt by the amount of lawsuits that would be thrown their way. But NOOOOOO, Sandler’s apparently a bigshot and gets carte blanche to do whatever the (REDACTED) he wants in this world.
(REDACTED) you, Sandler, you selfish prick. Also, your character’s name is Lenny. Salma Hayek would not end up with a Lenny!
Sorry, I’m projecting here.
Froemming: On the bus, Sandler’s kid gets bullied. So naturally Sandler, as the busdriver now, throws out fat jokes at a teenage boy who obviously already has problems. In an age where school shootings are common, maybe not throw gasoline on that particular fire. But whatever, make fun of the fat kid. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Kill me, Brown. Put me out of this misery.
After picking up his tax writeoffs — er, um friends, they get pulled over by the police. Which gave me a glimmer of hope that this was the end of the movie, because it felt like I had been watching this for three hours at this point.
I was barely 15 minutes in.
The cops are actually friends of theirs. One is played by Shaq, so you know there is a giant fart joking coming at some point, because fart jokes fill the empty void in Sandlers black, dead heart.
Brown: Before that, there’s a scene where the wives — Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello — are in yoga class. Naturally, this is a part where a pervy Jon Lovitz acts as the replacement teacher and basically #MeToo’s these poor women by having them bounce up and down and show him their asses. Then a child bites Jon Lovitz’s ass because not even children are safe from Happy Madison stupidity. Also, there’s a muscular woman that everyone says is a guy because sure, why not some transphobia in this movie?
Brown: Now, back to the cops scene: What the actual (REDACTED)?! Shaq’s character points a loaded gun at civilians because LOL prank! Then he and his partner start firing their guns into the air wildly in an act that would get any officer fired.
Froemming: Would it?
Brown: In theory…
Where do we go from here? Why, we hop back on the school bus — with Nick Swardson being “Weekend at Bernie’s”-d — and go to Sandler’s daughter’s dance recital. The teacher is well endowed and one of the officers actually utters the line “I want to arrest her for disturbing the peace in my pants.”
Froemming: Just kill me, Brown. End this suffering.
Anyway, all these fully grown men go to this dance recital to oggle this dance instructor because internet porn doesn’t exist in the Happy Madison Expanded Universe, so they have to leer at women like Connor MacLeod leers at wrestlers in “Highlander.” At least the immortal did it in the shadows, these creeps are doing this right in front of this poor woman.
Now, let us get into the stories of the friends.
- Chris Rock and his wife have a 20 year anniversary that the wife forgot. So Rock uses this so he can act like an asshole.
- Kevin James and his wife are raising stupid children. As in they are dim. Idiots. The children can barely add and subtract and other basic math crap. They are so dumb, they could probably be elected president of the United States some day.
- David Spade is in this. I hate David Spade. The wrong lead in “Tommy Boy” died.
These guys all grew up together and are lifelong friends. Funny story, I saw my 20th high school reunion is coming up and I have no desire to go. Because I hated most of those people then, and I don’t see time changing any of that. Maybe this movie jaded me more than I already was. Maybe I would have signed up for that had I not sat through these (REDACTED) movies.
The world is full of maybes, I guess.
Brown: Oh, who is the dance instructor’s boyfriend, I’m sure you’re asking yourself.
Only one of the seminal parts of my childhood.
Had Steve Austin performed a Stone Cold Stunner to anyone and broken their neck, this movie would have been worth it.
No, but he’s threatening Sandler because he used to be Sandler’s bully. This by default makes him the best character of the movie.
Quick aside on Spade’s character: His actual plot is he had an illegitimate child. You know, as illegitimate as Spade’s hairpiece in this flick because good god, man.
Not much to say about the kid. He’s covered in ratty tattoos, wears cut-off flannel and is violent. So you know, Sandler’s genesis story of Michael Myers is somehow worse than Rob Zombie’s.
From here, ice cream poop jokes! Way to push comedy to its limits, Sandler. The host of “Remote Control” is subjected to a bad poop joke.
Quick question, Happy Madison:
I will never understand why Colin Quinn keeps getting work. He is not funny. His stint on Weekend Update sucked. “Tough Crowd” was one of the most unfunny shows I have ever seen. QUIT TRYING TO MAKE COLIN QUINN A THING, AMERICA!
So yeah, we get this:
And honestly, watching that I wanted to end the JOE-DOWN. Not just stop doing it, but delete everything we ever did so all evidence of this would be gone. The JOE-DOWN, with Sandler Month, has become a hostile and toxic place. There has to be something good at the end of this, right? RIGHT?
Well, our heroes spend the day talking about their glory years, which always depresses me when I see people talk about their peak in life happening at 16. This brings up the fact that Kevin James never jumped off the big cliff at the local quarry. I had something like that growing up, and this movie took a giant crap all over those fond memories. So, thanks Adam Sandler.
Brown: He finds a way to make it worse, Froemming. Sandler brought in Jacob from the “Twilight” movies to be an obnoxious frat leader who makes the grown-ups here jump off the cliff naked.
So yeah, now I think “Twilight” is in the Happy Madison Expanded Universe.
Now, is there a payoff with the bunch of frat guys? Not really.
Is there a payoff with Sandler and Rock’s eldest kids being at the quarry partying with college kids? No.
Is there a tangible plot in this movie? No. It’s the worst “Pulp Fiction” clone of all time.
I will admit that “Jack and Jill” is a worse viewing experience. But at least “Jack and Jill” was a movie, with a plot and conflict and resolutions. This movie is a bunch of random scenes thrown together to make a 90-minute runtime. There’s no consequences, there’s no growth. The only thing that happens is Sandler and his friends waste my time and take my money.
I’m dead serious when I ask this: Can we just get to the party at the end of the movie because NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!
Froemming: You are 100 percent correct. Rock’s anniversary? Forgotten. Kevin James’ kids? A footnote at the end. They just talk about nonsense for an hour, I don’t remember much of what happened because it didn’t move the plot along and I was so angry watching this.
So yes, let’s get to the 1980s themed party at the end, because it would not be a Sandler movie without some 1980s shoehorned in for no good reason!
Brown: There’s two things I can point out that I enjoy in this movie. One is looking at Salma Hayek because, hey, I’m human. Second is the party costumes because I’m human and enjoy the occasional nostalgia pandering.
Here’s some things that happen in the party.
- Salma Hayek admits she wants another baby then realizes she’s already pregnant. Sandler admits they conceived the child in a Motel 6 hot tub which A. Gross! B. Sandler is a millionaire and can pony up money for a WAY better hotel. C. Gross!
- Steve Buscemi is here and I was hoping that this was a continuation of his Garland Greene character from “Con-Air” and he would leave the party wearing someone’s head as a hat.
- Sandler is mad about having to put his daughter to bed and offers her NyQuil. So yeah, Sandler offers his kid drugs.
- A dog funnels a beer because why the (REDACTED) not?
- The cops unload MORE rounds of ammo all willy-nilly around civilians, so yeah, this town is a lawless hellscape.
- Sandler is dressed as Bruce Springsteen until he takes the red hat out of his back pocket and wears it backwards, becoming Fred Durst.
Two things happen “of consequence.” The first one is Stone Cold Steve Austin lets Sandler win a fight to make Sandler feel like a big man.
Look, I hate seeing Steve Austin go out like this but A. He goes home to his hot dancing instructor girlfriend and B. I know he could do this to EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. At this party.
Froemming: This movie changed me man. I no longer enjoy:
- Stone Cold Steve Austin
- Steve Buscemi
- Andy Samberg
Well, the party started, Sandler stood up to his bully and now the frat guys have come to crash the thing, because Sandler and his good-time buddies went to their frat house and trashed it. I don’t think anyone involved with this movie understands the concept of being an actual “grown up.”
So we get a huge brawl. It is depressing. Young men fighting middle aged men, Steve Austin is there, Taylor Lautner is going more needless flips than Fasil did in the parking lot battle in “Highlander,” and nobody calls the cops, because the cops are already there, peeing in the pool and crashing in a doghouse.
Brown: The one laugh I had in this movie came at the start of the fight, and it was not because the movie intended it.
When this army of frat guys come to crash the party, Jacob tells the townies how pathetic they are for staying in this lame town. Then Colin Quinn’s character, the same guy who was mocked by David Spade, of all people, for having shattered dreams, tries to tell off the bullies by saying how someone rich and successful like Sandler came back here because the town is soooo great.
How (REDACTED) fragile is Sandler’s ego that they try stopping a fight by talking about how cool Sandler is? Sandler is basically Eric Cartman when he has a tea party with his stuffed animals.
You know what would help cure your shattered ego, Sandler? Quit making dogshit movies!
Froemming: That is never going to happen.
The fight is over, everyone has pancakes at Kevin James’ mom’s house, where she convinces Sandler another child is a blessing.
So he goes home and tells the wife he is happy for her pregnancy. Then wants to have sex with her. And he looks at her belly and tells his unborn child to watch its head, because of all the sex he is going to have with Salma Hayek.
That is honestly one of the most disturbing things I have heard in a movie.
Brown: So more ego stroking: Sandler suggesting he’s well-endowed.
And that’s not even the last joke of the movie!
As the camera pulls away from the house, they have Sandler pull off Kevin James’ “famous” move: the Burpsnart. That is burping, sneezing and farting, all at the same time.
Let’s just get to the part where we don’t recommend this movie.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: No. This is the Burpsnart of cinema.
Froemming: No. Just — no.