A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie explores the impact of middle age, depicting it as a time when people start coming to terms with who they are instead of who they thought they would be. Part of that realization process is that people still have time to change if they want to -- though some of the people who try get discouraged because it can be tough. The movie presents childhood as a time for imaginative play and adventure seeking, rather than texting or playing video games. Amid the broader messages are a fair number of potty-humor gags (peeing in the pool) and jokes based on issues like weight.
Positive Role Models
The five main characters are extreme archetypes of middle-aged men. None of them has their act completely together, but some are worse off than others, and while some grow during the course of the film, others don't. (That said, all are trying to do right by their families.) Their kids are shown acting up; in one family, they boss their nanny around via text message, expecting to be waited on. Affluent and entitled, these kids are put off by the rustic fun offered at a lake cabin and long for the technologies -- Wii, flat screens -- to which they're accustomed. Female characters are thinly drawn and often the butt of jokes.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of slapstick humor, but no real violence. Friends play a game in which they shoot an arrow into the air and then run away, hoping to avoid it as it crashes down. Kids are shown playing a video game in which they shoot and kill other characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One male character is seen from behind, naked from the waist down. Also lots of innuendo and suggestive dialogue/sexual references, but no on-screen sex. Several scenes show the male leads ogling scantily clad women's cleavage and behinds.
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"Ass" and "s--t" are used once or twice; other words include "dick," "damn," "crap," "hell," and "oh my God." A child's ringtone includes the word "bi-atch." Plenty of scenes include pseudo-curse-words like "shiz-nizzle."
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Products & Purchases
Many brands are mentioned by name and/or appear on screen, including Cadillac, Dunkin' Donuts, Wii, Voss water, and Budweiser. One character wears a KFC bucket on his head in several scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults make jokes in front of children about "getting wasted" (the kids then start using this term, thinking it means something else). One adult character is buzzed or drunk most of the movie. He drinks shots and encourages others to join him and cradles a bottle of liquor.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this Adam Sandler/David Spade/Chris Rock comedy about old friends reuniting after a tragedy has lots of heart, that doesn't make up for the crude and repetitive jokes. And while the trailer might have you thinking the humor is all about kids and families, there's a lot of racy "guy" stuff here: Male buttocks are shown, and there are plenty of sexual innuendoes/references and instances of men ogling women. One character is depicted as a booze-loving lush, and though the main characters are ostensibly good friends, they're not particularly kind to one another (their kids also behave rudely, expecting to be waited on hand and foot and maligning anything that's not fancy or technologically advanced). Language includes "s--t" and "ass." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
GROWN UPS is one of those movies that looks great in trailers but ultimately disappoints. With a cast like this, it really ought to be a slam dunk. But it's hobbled by a lackluster script that has little at stake for the characters. And the jokes: Despite the fact that it stars five successful comedians, the same jokes are recycled throughout. How many bits do we really need about a nanny camouflaged as an exchange student, a grandmother's bunioned toe, a retiree's marriage to a much younger man, a man's voracious appetite, and a still-nursing 4-year-old?
The five leads share some chemistry, but not enough to make a lifelong friendship believable. They're so cruel to each other that you have to wonder how they stayed friendly. And the women are nothing more than weak supporting acts and fodder for chauvinistic jokes. The film does have a few nice moments -- the paper-cup extravaganza, the flashbacks -- and makes a good point about not giving up the best moments of childhood to gadgetry and gimmicks. But on the whole, Grown Ups is a stunted comedy.
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