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Five friends and former teammates reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. With their wives and kids in tow, they spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend together at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier. Picking up where they left off, they discover why growing older doesn't mean growing up.
For more about Grown Ups and the Grown Ups Blu-ray release, see Grown Ups Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 23, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Adam Sandler (I), Fred Wolf
Starring: Adam Sandler (I), Kevin James, Chris Rock (I), David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek
» See full cast & crew
Grown Ups Blu-ray Review
Not as mature as it ought to be.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 23, 2010
No regrets when life's final buzzer sounds.
Grown Ups sets the stage for a great movie, and it yields only a passably decent final product. Lumping five of Hollywood's funniest funny men into one film seemed like a formula for success, but Grown Ups does little more than follow formula in every area. There are laughs aplenty, but with the laughs come an equal number of patently unfunny stabs at would-be classic humor. That contrast between good idea, great cast, and successful film and mediocre execution, waste of top talent, and bland finished product is readily evident throughout Director Dennis Dugan's (You Don't Mess with the Zohan) latest Comedy. Grown Ups isn't a bad movie at all, but it's far from the heights it should and probably could have achieved. For every hit there's an equal miss, for every successful scene that paints the characters as five real lifelong friends there's a countering dull joke of bland physical gag, and for every fun side character there's one that's underused or unnecessary. Grown Ups simply never finds the right balance for all its honest-to-goodness efforts to the contrary; everything is in place for an instant classic, but just when it seems that Grown Ups is well on its way, it stumbles where it should excel, resulting in an up-and-down sort of movie that's worth watching but that will leave its audiences wondering what might have been.
Lifelong friends Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler, Reign Over Me), Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock, Death at a Funeral), Marcus Higgins (David Spade, Tommy Boy), and Rob Hillard (Rob Schneider, Benchwarmers) are reunited on their way to middle age after they receive word that their old basketball coach has passed away. Separated by distance and years, the friends instantly reconnect and haven't seemed to miss a beat, even if they've grown older, heavier, wealthier, or weirder with the passage of time. Eric, the de facto leader of the group and the most financially successful of the bunch, rents a weekend retreat where the friends rediscover what it was that made them a winning team in their youths both on and off the court. As they bond with one another and their families, they come to realize that age hasn't stolen their youth, and when an old rival basketball team shows up and challenges them to a rematch of the big game they won for their late coach, they must find that youthful spring in their step and the camaraderie that made them unbeatable if they're to once again take the court and find their true selves as easily as they find net. Their old ball coach wouldn't have had it any other way.
Grown Ups actually works at a more consistent pace in its first act than it does its rickety second and wannabe meaningful third. The film finds a nice balance between witty and touching as the friends gather for the funeral of their beloved coach, and it strikes just the right chord between humor and heart as they pay their respects in their own oddball ways at the service proper. Grown Ups promises good things, and once Sandler, James, Rock, Spade, and Schneider are all sharing the same screen, fans can't help but to settle in and rightfully anticipate greatness from one of the best quintets ever assembled in a Comedy. Of course, as Hollywood is prone to prove, things don't always go according to plan. Grown Ups simply tries to hard in too many places to be too many things with too many characters, resulting in as many failed jokes and gags as there are successful ones. Much of the fault lies around the periphery of the main characters, though Sandler, James, et. al. stumble around a fair bit, too, though it's clear in such instances that they're more hampered by a bad stretch of script than they are their own shortcomings. The result is a scattershot picture that patterns all over the board with a bigger spread than a long-distance blast with a 12-gauge shotgun. On target here, way off there, there's no rhyme or reason for the picture's dramatic ebbs and flows, other than that script that's too overcrowded with characters and too forced in many of its jokes. The best lines are in the trailer, and the rest of the movie is pretty much those same jokes recycled in different ways.
Even if Grown Ups never finds a consistent stride, the one thing it does get right is its stellar primary cast. The movie is a star vehicle in every sense of the phrase, and the quality of the script sometimes suffers as a result, as if the writers simply hoped that raw talent could turn an otherwise stale joke or gag into comedy gold. It rarely works, even if the cast does give it their all and milk what's in the script for all its worth. It's up to the cast, then, to sell the movie, and these five comedians manage to show a deeper range than what's normally asked of them, a range that serves as the film's glue and most sincere element. Indeed, the picture's greatest asset is the camaraderie between the cast; they're surprisingly tight and believable as lifelong friends, with several scenes commanding a level of respect for the way they so seamlessly bond not in the typically loud and obnoxious ways they tend to gravitate towards, but in those quieter scenes where they reflect on their lives, their friendship with one another, days gone by, the man who was their coach, and the little nuances they share and friendly jabs they exchange that sell the relationship as believably real. Sandler, James, Rock, Spade, and Schneider play up their friendship best when they're not tasked with filling in the gaps with crude humor or physical comedy; they manage an honest bond that genuinely seems strengthened through years of friendship and the tragedy that's brought them all back together again. Grown Ups finds several touching moments that shows that the bonds of friendship extend beyond familiarity and time together. The five principles do their part and then some; it's just too bad the rest of the movie couldn't quite rise to their level.
Grown Ups Blu-ray, Video Quality
Grown Ups' high definition presentation is sturdy and accurate; the image appears reflective of the original HD video elements, but that means a flat, overblown appearance that captures a decidedly glossy texture that's short on intricate detailing and long on dull, dimensionless imagery. Indeed, the transfer eschews meticulous detailing throughout, with only the occasional glimpse of something more refined -- a tattered denim jacket, the textures on rocks -- peeking through the lifeless faces and clumpy backgrounds that are the norm. On the flip side, the image is incredibly vibrant; colors jump off the screen and contrast is boosted for that new-wave and now-standard Comedy look that pushes flesh tones towards a red shade. Whites often bloom and black crush is evident in several nighttime shots, but problematic banding, unsightly digital tinkering, heavy noise, and obvious blocking are nowhere to be found. Sony's Blu-ray presentation of Grown Ups is proficient and seemingly reflective of the source; that innate video look just doesn't do the film any favors.
Grown Ups Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Grown Ups features a fairly bland DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack, but like the video transfer, Sony's audio presentation is hampered by the source, in this case a front-heavy and lifeless atmosphere that does little to engage the listener on any level. Bass is nonexistent and the surround speakers take most of the movie off. Only light atmospherics wiggle their way into the back speakers in support of creating a basic environment inside a church, outside in a waterpark, or around a serene woodland area. The score plays with an airy and spacious feel, and never does it seem confined to the front speakers but instead manages to extend beyond their range and the size of the listening area for what is probably the track's best attribute outside of dialogue. Indeed, dialogue is focused up the middle and consistently fresh and natural. The track does find some energy in the form of a few rock songs that intermittently show up over the movie, but otherwise, this one is the very definition of "bland." Sony's DTS track does all that's asked of it, and it works well with what it has, but there's nothing of note to be found in this soundtrack.
Grown Ups Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Grown Ups delivers several short and superfluous extras, headlined by an audio commentary track with Director Dennis Dugan. Dugan delivers a fairly dry but adequate commentary, sharing some good insights into the script, pointing out the identities of background characters, shooting alternative jokes and scenes, discussing the primary cast's ad-libbing of scenes, talking about the weather during the shoot, and plenty more. Laughing is Contagious (1080p, 4:08) is a compilation piece/glorified gag reel that features the cast and crew, yup, laughing on the set. Riff-O-Rama (1080p, 4:37) features the cast ad-libbing during an outdoor scene. Next is Dennis Dugan: Hands on Director (1080p, 4:38), a short piece that focuses on the qualities and skills Dugan brought to the film. The Lost Tapes of Norm MacDonald (1080p, 6:46) features a fifth-wheel (or in this case, sixth) character named "Geezer" and the actor who plays him talking about his experiences in working with the primary cast. The Cast of 'Grown Ups' (1080p, 7:08) highlights the work of the primary cast. Finally, Busey and the Monkey (1080p, 3:24) is a brief scene that stars Gary Busey and a monkey. Also included is BD-Live functionality; a collection of outtakes and deleted scenes (1080p, 10:15); a gag reel (1080p, 3:49); and 1080p trailers for The Other Guys, Salt, The Karate Kid (2010), Easy A, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, Eat Pray Love, Beastly, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, Click, and 50 First Dates. This set also contains DVD and digital copies of the film.
Grown Ups Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Grown Ups fails to deliver on a good concept, but it does sport a quality ensemble cast that squeezes out just enough humor, heart, and believability in their relationship to make the movie worth a watch. Unfortunately, everything that exists around the periphery of the main cast -- bland secondary characters, forced humor, a choppy feel, a mediocre script, and an occasionally sluggish pace -- all drag the film down several notches. There's a much better movie somewhere in here, and both fans and the cast deserve something that's not quite as generic as this end product. Grown Ups' Blu-ray release is decent; the image and sound quality could use some maturing, but the included supplements are about what's expected of a midlevel Comedy, making this a disc that's worth a rent but nothing more.
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Toy Story 3 was again the top-selling title on Blu-ray, according to data from Nielsen VideoScan for the week ended November 14. The second and third places were for Grown Ups and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, respectively. Scott Pilgrim got 51% of its total sales ...
• This Week on Blu-ray - November 9-15 - November 9, 2010
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• Four-week Delay for Karate Kid and Other Sony Movies at Netflix - October 7, 2010
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