"Grown Ups" seems like a excuse for star/producer Adam Sandler and his pals to take a pleasant vacation, although unlike Vince Vaughn's "Couples Retreat", at least "Grown Ups" tries to entertain and come up with a bit of a story. The story is an easy set-up for even easier laughs, but as Sandler's stories go, it's a fun enough way to spend an afternoon and the all-star cast is enjoyable. The basic story involves five grown-up pals (played by Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, David Spade, Sandler and Kevin James.) Spade plays a sleazy bachelor, which is really an example of an actor reaching very far outside of his comfort zone.
The story boils down to this: the group finds out after calling one another that their favorite high school basketball coach has passed away. Of course, this leads to the idea of "getting the old gang back together", as they all meet up at a beautiful lakefront cabin in the wilderness (but nice, resort-y wilderness, of course.) The group brings along their wives and/or children, and that group includes Sandler's wife, a famed fashion designer, played by Salma Hayek. Maria Bello plays the wife of the James character, and doesn't do much more than feed her somewhat older child.
The movie focuses on the trials of the group, but there's the slightest of subplots about coming face-to-face with their old rival team, with the head played by Colin Quinn - it's a thankless role, but Quinn is a good sport. Still, the majority of the movie is otherwise filled with the cast goofing off and discussing getting old (Sandler and James discussing what the consequences would be if they talked to their fathers the way the Sandler character's kids talk to him, etc.)
The movie is that mix of lowbrow humor and sappy sweetness that have been seen in nearly every Sandler movie post-"Happy Gilmore", although in this case, some of the sweeter moments seem a bit more genuine. Some of the laughs swing and miss (some of the goofs on the older woman that Schneider's character is with are downright mean; Rock's character is completely underused), but the rest is largely light laughs that meet expectations for this sort of flick.
VIDEO: "Grown Ups" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While a few flaws appear, this is otherwise quite a nice presentation of the film. Sharpness and detail are usually quite good, although there are a few low-light scenes that look a bit softer.
More notable issues include some mild edge enhancement visible in some scenes, as well as a few traces of artifacting. No print flaws were spotted, nor were any additional concerns. Colors looked natural and pure, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is the bare basics, with minimal surround use beyond some light ambience. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue and crisp, well-recorded music.
EXTRAS: A pair of "making of" featurettes and a gag reel that gets a few chuckles.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Grown Ups" doesn't go beyond expectations, but it offers a few solid laughs and a fine cast. As for the DVD, it offers satisfactory audio/video quality and a few minor extras.
The Film B-