EARLY IN Grown Ups, when Kevin James breaks an above-ground swimming pool (because he is fat, you see), I laughed. I also laughed when Salma Hayek threw a rock and it hit a kid in the nuts. Clearly, I do not have lofty standards for comedy.
And yet: Those (hilarious!) moments aside, Grown Ups feels 9,000 hours long. Its existence will convert some viewers to atheism. In endless stretches, tone-deaf jokes fall flat; entire scenes collapse with the thud of incompetence. It is boring. It makes one nostalgic for the act of laughing.
Grown Ups is either a ripoff of the John Candy/Dan Aykroyd joint The Great Outdoors or a remake of a shitty mid-'90s episode of SNL. Doesn't matter. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider play childhood friends who're old and married now, except for Spade, who's an alcoholic. (Drunk and skeevy, Spade's the best part of Grown Ups; his slouching body has finally aged into a shape befitting the snarky burnout he's been playing since Tommy Boy.) These men have middle-age malaise, stupid children, and bitchy wives (played by women who are too good for this: Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph); given a feeble excuse, they reunite at a lake house and learn crappy life lessons.
Also, Rudolph gets sprayed in the face with Bello's breast milk; James wears a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head (twice); a fat old lady farts a lot; and Sandler, et al., despite being grown up, rehash the same shtick they got bored of a decade ago. If this is all you've got, guys, it's time to retire. Make way for the future rulers of comedy: Kevin James, Destroyer of Above-Ground Swimming Pools, and Salma Hayek, Empress of Throwing Rocks at Kids' Nuts.