Friday, November 15, 2013

Grown Ups 2 Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The boys are back! Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade return for a second gathering of childhood friends in the comedy Grown Ups 2, which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Lenny (Sandler) has relocated his family back to the town in which he and his friends grew up and soon realizes that he can try to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, but between old bullies, cops on skis and a group of rowdy local college kids, sometimes crazy follows wherever you go. The returning all-star cast also includes Salma Hayek (Here Comes the Boom, Frida), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) and Maria Bello (TV’s “Touch”), who are joined by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Swardson (Jack and Jill), Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) and Milo Ventimglia (TV’s “Heroes”, upcoming Grace of Monaco).
Film (2 out of 5 stars)

Grown Ups 2 begins in Lenny’s (Adam Sandler) bedroom where a wild animal has wandered in, and when startled pees in Lenny’s open mouth which really sets the tone for the rest of the movie.  For those of you that missed the first installment, this film does not explain anything about the original Grown Ups which focused on Lenny moving his family back to his hometown to be closer to his childhood friends. Those friends include Marcus (David Spade); Kurt (Chris Rock) and wife Deanne (Maya Rudolph); Eric (Kevin James) and wife Sally (Maria Bello). By the time this second film takes place, the school year is nearing an end for the children and the grown-ups are realizing they never party like adults anymore and life often seems mundane.

Kurt and Deanne have just reached their 20th anniversary and Kurt is upset that Deanne has completely forgotten their anniversary.  Roxanne wants another baby as Lenny argues that their family is complete as they would need another pizza if they added a new family member. Eric feels like he has to sneak over to his mother's house to feel like he's loved because he doesn't think he gets enough of it from his wife Sally.  Marcus has just learned that he has a tall, intimidating, tattooed teenage son and he has come for a visit. Making the boy attend the very last day of school is only one of the very unlikely details of this film.  

The story doesn't just follow the moronic adventures of the main characters as we also see Kurt’s daughter’s first date. The boy she is dating and his entire family have an extremely annoying (and not at all funny) way of screaming “Whaaaat” any time something unexpected happens. The low-brow humor continues through yoga class while the janitor makes the students bounce and bend over for his enjoyment and Lenny’s daughter has a voluptuous ballet teacher the men just can’t take their eyes off of. Later when the men decide to head to an old hangout they run into a group of frat boys headed by Twilight’s Taylor Lautner. The frat boys don’t just laugh at the “old” men - they threaten, humiliate and eventually battle them. Other guest stars include Shaquille O’Neal who plays a significant role in the film and the one cast member I did enjoy, Steve Austin (aka Stone Cold Steve Austin).

The sequel to Grown Ups included all of the original gang, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade return with the only exception being Rob Schneider's character.  They aren't alone as their on screen (and very unlikely) wives Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, and Maria Bello also return. The film does not feel the least bit natural in its comedy and is it's full of running gags like Eric’s Fart-Burp-Sneeze combination. There is also no universe that could exist where Salma Hayek ends up with Adam Sandler and the Kevin James-Maria Bello pairing is only slightly more believable. I could see Maya Rudolph and Chris Rock as a pair, but the disaster that is their family failed to amuse me as well. 

If I didn't know better I would have thought this was a spoof of a “real” film – and I rarely enjoy spoofs! I was not a huge fan of the first movie and I know that sequels are almost never better than the original, so I tried not to set my expectations too high. When it comes to Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison's movies, they usually provoke a strong response from me - I either love them or hate them. Grown Ups 2 definitely does not fall into the love category for me.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Although the film itself didn't impress me, Sony’s Blu-ray transfer did. After you get past the opening shot the film’s detail is excellent, especially noticeable in the case of fabric textures. Facial features also show fine details. Colors are bright and vivid and visual noise is not an issue.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)

Grown Ups 2 is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The backyard party near the end of the film incorporates heavy bass and a significant crowd and the surround sound does get a chance to shine. The wild animal from the opening sequence sounds incredibly life like and you would think that his hooves just ran across your own hard wood floors. Dialogue is clear and consistent and although there is a decent amount of yelling (in fear and as a part of the humor) the overall volume does not need adjustment.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)

There's not a whole lot of extras included here and the ones that are here are fairly short.

Grown Ups 2 contains the following special features:
  • Deleted Scenes: - Eight deleted scenes lasting over six minutes total.
  • Look Who Stopped By – A four and a half minute look at the new additions to the Grown Ups cast.
  • The Feder House – A limited look at the construction of the sound stage where the Feder’s home (Adam Sandler’s on screen family) was created.
  • Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride – The tire rolling scene featuring David Spade.
  • Shaq and Dante: Police Force – A less than two minute look at the law enforcement combination/trainwreck featured in the film.
  • Previews
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)

While I tried to keep my expectations low I have to admit that I was disappointed in Grown Ups 2. It is definitely an inferior movie to the original and I wasn't even a huge fan of that one. The humor wasn't fun or silly but idiotic instead and I found myself unimpressed with the film as a whole. Occasionally, the special features on something like this are more enjoyable than the film itself, but even the extras on here are not very entertaining. It’s a shame that I didn't like the movie more because Sony’s audio and video presentations are very well done and really save the overall score from being lower than it is.  I'm sure some people will think this movie is hilarious but it just didn't work at all for me.

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