Grown Ups 2 opens with a CGI deer invading Adam Sandler’s bedroom, standing up on its hind legs, and pissing in his face; it ends with Sandler simultaneously farting, sneezing, and burping while having sex with Salma Hayek. In between, the audience is treated to Nick Swardson shitting in a Kmart and making out with a dog, David Spade sensuously licking a female bodybuilder’s bicep while wearing a John Oates costume, members of The Lonely Island rubbing their asses on the soapy windshield of Kevin James’ car while wearing cheerleading uniforms, and Shaquille O’Neal filling a swimming pool with his urine.
In other words, Grown Ups 2 is a quintessential late-period Sandler movie. Largely free of Sandler’s usual schmaltz and lame romance, it’s pure plotless, grotesque high jinks, bizarre and inept in a way that’s fascinating without ever being all that funny. The humor is largely based on bodily discomfort and shame, with Sandler, Spade, James, and Chris Rock—playing middle-aged men who don’t take their shirts off when they go swimming—offering an endless stream of fat jokes, muscle jokes, short jokes, tall jokes, poop jokes, and bald jokes.
Set over the course of a single day, the movie follows its four leads as they avoid work, their significant others, and their kids while guzzling various sponsored beverages. (In one of the laziest pieces of product placement in recent memory, Sandler wakes up with an unopened can of Pepsi on his nightstand.) Along the way, they run afoul of Milo Ventimiglia’s band of roving frat boys, leading to climactic free-for-all at an ’80s-themed kegger.
Grown Ups 2 marks Sandler’s eighth collaboration with director/yes-man Dennis Dugan, a filmmaker whose style is distinguished by an inability to frame gags and a fondness for Pottery Barn interiors lit with soap-opera flatness. Like the other recent Dugan/Sandler movies—Jack And Jill, Just Go With It—Grown Ups 2 is surreally shoddy: Continuity and technical errors are the norm; the movie’s opening credits roll over mismatched, low-resolution stock footage. Bad prosthetics and make-up abound; there are countless paste-on beards and wrinkly bald caps, and two characters have fake noses that are the wrong skin tone. The crappiness of the filmmaking is so pervasive and compulsive that viewers may suspect that it constitutes some kind of perverse artistic statement—an intentional crass ineptness that’s very much in line with Sandler’s anti-snob worldview.