Grown Ups 2 was pitching a Bucky Larson for a hot minute there, and the whole time I was hoping our pal Armond White would kick down the door and pop a squat over the nerds’ punch bowl, as he’s so brilliantly fond of doing. But then Christopher Campbell spoiled Grown Ups‘ perfect 0 with a glowing review that levied compliments such as “mostly plotless” and “sexist and mean.”
How can you dump in a punch bowl that’s already dump-filled? A few more “positive” reviews later, and Grown Ups 2‘s zero was old news, a regular Dewey Defeats Truman. But that didn’t stop me from anticipating Armond White’s review like a kid on Christmas Eve. The vociferent curmudgenarian and four time Chairman of the Bull Moose Movin’ Picture Society of the 1934 World’s Fair has long been a Sandler stalwart, once calling Jack and Jill… well Armond’s hard to paraphrase, but he did write “Jill’s large features, gaucheness, petulance and unsophisticated ways are not anti-Jewish traits but the qualities that insecure, social-climbing ethnic groups usually evade.”
Disappointingly he’s a little less verbose in his love of Grown Ups 2, which he pairs with Pawn Shop Chronicles in a double review, but Armond, with his flair for stagecraft, probably knew that praising it alone was statement enough without thesaurisizing the lily. He’s like the Black Swan of the film critic world, a wild card even when he’s predictable.
Grown Ups 2 examines contentment in an ethnically mixed, fully-employed suburb where high school friends Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade have remained friends. [...]
There are moments in Grown Ups 2 that are so kindly (graceful scenes of embarrassment and forgiveness among fallible but loving folk) it reveals Sandler’s basic, misunderstood Utopianism. [...]
The multiplicity of types in Grown Ups 2 makes it surprisingly delightful: extemporizing parents, troubled kids, sexual diversity, even townies vs. frat boy antagonism. [...]
Sandler’s stand-up comic crew represent an ideal communal bond of pranksters including Shaquille O’Neal, Ellen Cleghorne, Tim Meadows and Savage Steve Austin, Cheri Oteri, Alexander Ludwig, Taylor Lautner and many others, all in hilarious, beatific bits. [...]
Grown Ups 2 risks resentment by smart-alecks who abhor Sandler’s geniality. [...]
Yet the emotional heft of Kramer’s vision–especially Dillon’s heartbreaking middle tale–is the tragic counterpoint to Sandler’s comic vision. Both films are amazing to the degree that they are authentic and perceptive. [...]
He also called Paul Walker, who co-starred in The Pawn Shop Chronicles, “the terrific Paul Walker.”
I was kind of hoping he’d say something more along the lines of “PAUL WALKER’S PERSPICACIOUS PORTAYAL OF PETER PFOFFENFEFFER REGARDS ANTEDILUVIAN MUSCULARITY IN ITS VERSIMILITUDINOUS CACAPHONY. NOT SINCE DAVID DECOTEAU’S ‘A TALKING CAT?!’ HAS A FILMMAKER SO EXTEMPORANEOUSLY HELD A MIRROR UP TO SOCIETY’S DECADENT TARANTINIOCRACY. HOBERMAN SUCKS, RON PAUL 2016 #TCOT #YOLO #F*CKYALL”
Oh well. Never look a truthbomb in the mouth, as they say.