Just when you thought it was safe to see an Adam Sandler movie, the crafty comedian has reversed course and returned to plowing the field of lowbrow comedy, in which he’s a Perfect 10.
I was never a fan of Sander’s output in the 1990s, but his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love turned my head in 2002, and since then he has demonstrated a pleasant degree of ambition to go along with his audience-pleasing schtick. Splanglish, Reign Over Me, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and Funny People may have all had fatal flaws, but, taken as a whole, the films indicated a willingness to experiment and take on a broader range of material. Grown Ups, his latest alleged comedy, is a lazy return to the 20th Century. More accurately, it’s a retreat into 19th Century vaudeville, filled with pratfalls, insult humor, and antique jokes that had to be restored before they could be dusted off.