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06/25/2010

Boys, even as 'Grown Ups,' will be boring

What do you get when you send a gaggle of decent comics and a dozen or so support players out to a lake house to make a movie comedy about old pals?

Not much.  And, oh yeah, "Grown Ups."

Adam Sandler, who played a comedian who thought he was dying last year in "Funny People," really does die comically in this dismal ensemble series of tasteless sight gags about passed gas, a dog with his vocal chords slashed and an arrow through the foot (not once, but twice).

And, oh yeah, Sandler's comic pals Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider die right along with him, as do former "Saturday Night Live" alums Maya Rudolph, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Tim Herlihy and Norm Macdonald.

The idea, co-written by Sandler and former "Saturday Night Live" scribe Fred Wolf ("Strange Wilderness," "Without a Paddle" and "Joe Dirt," if that tells you anything) is this.

Five starters on a boys basketball team reunite 30 years later at the lake house where they celebrated a city championship.  They bring their families.  In the rush to pack, however, they forgot to bring the funny.

Comedy is hard.  Ensemble comedy is even harder because the jokes must be divvied up.  Sadly, "Grown Ups" is just hard to watch.

Even though this movie has a script and is allegedly directed by Dennis Dugan ("Happy Gilmore," but also "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"), it wanders aimlessly through trite lowbrow humor and boys-will-be-boys gawk sessions at some of the females in the cast.

Speaking of the women unfortunate enough to be part of all this, Maria Bello ("Thank You for Smoking," "A History of Violence") draws some laughs as "got milk" mama Sally Lamonsoff.  Salma Hayek, now acting under her married name Salma Hayek Pinault, doesn't embarrass herself as Roxanne, Sandler's on screen fashion designer wife.

"Grown Ups" reminds me of the awful 2004 con-man comedy "The Big Bounce."  Owen Wilson, Charlie Sheen, Morgan Freeman and country crooner Willie Nelson all looked like they were having a blast hanging out in Hawaii for that one.  But the movie sucked.

Change the beach to a Massachusetts lake front and the players to Sandler and the gang (including his wife and kids in small roles), and the results are unfortunately the same.

A good time must have been had by all ... on the set.  Not so much for those of us in the audience, though.

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