Tag Archives: chris rock
Grown Ups 2 (2013)
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Written by Fred Wolf & Adam Sandler & Tim Herlihy
In 2010, Adam Sandler and his band of merry men released Grown Ups, a film that I felt, at the time, wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. I couldn’t understand why they chose the jokes they did, why they acted as if their actions had no real consequence from one scene to the next, and why the characters, when they weren’t at their absolute broadest, began to meld into one another to form just one character. I chalked it up to a case of bad movie syndrome.
Catching up with it on television, coming into the film at various points, it slowly began appealing to me. And then one day, while splitting my time between watching it with the sound down and reading, I realized why. The film is like a silent comedy, not like those told through space like in Buster Keaton pictures, or through pathos and character like Charlie Chaplin, but those told through time, like that of the great Mack Sennett and his band of merry men (namely the Keystone Cops). If you watch Grown Ups with the sound turned off while reading a book of jokes, it amounts to the same thing as with sound, except you can always refresh the jokes.
Its sequel, the imaginatively titled Grown Ups 2, is without a doubt obsessed with the idea of space (progressing from Sennett to Keaton). For instance, the film opens with a moose running amuck in Sandler’s mansion, which seems to happen only to give us a remarkable (for this day in age) view of the layout of the Sandler’s home and personal space.
Jokes, almost inherently, aren’t funny. We all know scores of ‘classic’ jokes from the aristocrats to dead babies to chickens crossing roads. None of them are funny. But, in the right context, we’ll laugh at them, because the joke isn’t what’s funny—the idea of the joke being told is. It’s that extra layer, that prefix, that meta, that deeper meaning, which gives a joke life, and makes it funny, and makes you truly laugh. (Laughing simply because you’re ‘supposed to’ is why sitcoms are popular, despite their unfunniness.)