Monday, 21 April 2014

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: GROWN UPS 2

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

24. GROWN UPS 2 (2013, dir. Dennis Dugan)

21/04/2014


Good Christmas cracker jokes have to be awful, as it is preferable to unite your family against the joke on Christmas Day, rather than divine into factions that lied or disliked the joke. I have tried to think of my own Christmas cracker joke:

Who was the tallest radio DJ in the world? Kenny Everest.

Granted this joke may have worked better in the 1980s, but you are more likely to think, yes, there was some effort involved to actually make the joke, but no more effort was made to make it a really good one - it satisfied the five sections of acknowledgement, but you must move on to the next one before self-hate takes over.

"Grown Ups 2" is just that sort of joke. Yesterday, Easter Sunday, our family sat around a television to watch this film. It has already been reviewed on this site, so I don't have to put myself through it again in order to write a synopsis of the plot - or, for that matter, whatever plot there was, as it could have been ended at any time. I also don't need to repeat the many poor reviews that this film received, although Elizabeth Weitzman's write-up for the "New York Daily News" does provide a good summary for what went wrong:

"Like most Adam Sandler movies, it’s exactly like most Adam Sandler movies... This movie stars all Sandler’s buddies and gleefully embraces lowbrow crudity even while promoting loving family values."

It is fashionable to dislike Adam Sandler's films, and they clearly are made for a specific audience that exists within the United States. In the UK, our humour is more complicated, more ironic, with a greater attitude behind it. If "Grown Ups 2" was a British film, the audience would have it signalled from the start as to why it is so crude, and the main character may well be shown to be a pathetic individual that has overreached themselves, much like Keith Lemon (in this case, it was true when "The Keith Lemon Movie" was released, making ITV's revival of "Through the Keyhole," with the character as host, even more inexplicable).

In the same way that the novelist Anthony Burgess described fellow writer Jean Genet, Adam Sandler's collective films are a work of masturbation and excremental narcissism. The scatological humour provide only enough laughs for the instant you see it, but nothing more, so it has to be done again, and again, and again, until some sort of satisfaction arrives. Once that is done, the cracker joke is thrown away.

I'm still mad at myself for watching it through to the end, but I know I wouldn't have done if I was watching it alone - everyone was united on rainy Sunday, against lazy jokes about urinating deer - just don't ask...

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