grown ups the movieWhen some alcohol, a big screen television and Twister are all put together a good time is sure to be had, much like when Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider each star in the same film. Such is the case with Grown Ups, which provides plenty of laughs from its comedic all-star cast.

Directed by Dennis Dugan, Grown Ups is the story of a group of five childhood friends who reunite for Fourth of July weekend at a lake cabin in the woods. They gather over the death of their childhood basketball coach with whom they had won a championship under and was an inspiration in their lives.

The friends are Lenny (Sandler), a Hollywood agent whose trying to hide his lavish lifestyle; Kurt (Rock), a house husband whose cooking and cleaning is under appreciated; Eric (James) whose accident prone; Marcus (Spade), a care free bachelor; and Rob (Schneider) an earthy, overly sensitive groom to a much older woman.

Grown Ups has all the makings of a classic comedy, but I feel it falls a little short of its potential. Sandler is one actor whose movies I see just because he’s in them (except Little Nicky), and he usually provides a solid mix of laughs and just enough heart. The recipe for Grown Ups was missing just a little something, still turned out good but could have been better. The scenes often appeared to just be a set up for a laugh; such as when they explore the woods so James’s character can get hurt, and more times than not a laugh is delivered but the plot doesn’t seem fluid. It lacks a solid substance.

There are a number of humorous running gags, including a four year old whose still breast fed, the massive corn on the foot of Rock’s mother-in-law, and Sandler’s attempts to make the nanny appear as a foreign exchange student.

In addition to the stellar leading players, Grown Ups also has a strong supporting cast. The wives are played by Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph. The regulars of Sandler’s movies also appear like the guy with the crazy eyes and scene stealer Steve Buscemi as Wiley, who suffers an unfortunate but hilarious fate from an incident at the water park. It is a very large cast, especially with all the children added, almost to many to keep up with in a 102 minute film, but each make their own impact.

Usually more of a bit player, Schneider excels in a prominent role, highlighted by his hair. His character is perfectly summed up in one of films countless one liners as a ‘Midget Filipino Fonzie.’

The conclusion does have some heart, and there are brief glimpses of it throughout but is always overshadowed by the next laugh. Nothing is wrong with a pure comedy and Grown Ups is guaranteed to deliver some big belly laughs but think it had potential to be a lot more.