Grown Ups 2 - Cinematic Disaster or Surrealist Masterpiece?

There are things in this world that are true and seemingly always will be, the sun will rise in the East and set in the West, energy can neither be created nor destroyed and perhaps most importantly, Grown Ups 2 is a bad film. Ok, so that last one may be more of a widely accepted opinion than a universal truth, but I doubt you’re going to find many people who would disagree with it. I’m sure I would’ve immediately agreed with them, at I least I would’ve done, until a fateful bout of tonsillitis showed me the truth.

For those lucky enough to have been living in blissful ignorance of Grown Ups 2, in summary, it’s a sequel to the 2010 original, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade and Chris Rock. I would summarise the plot, but if I’m perfectly honest the film is more of a string of seemingly random, increasingly bizarre events, and I’m still not sure if that’s a bad thing.

Having been in bed for the past 4 days, I had gone delirious after all what could’ve possibly possessed me to watch Grown Ups 2, whatever it was that made me do it, maybe boredom maybe some divine power, I was shown something I’m not sure I was ready to accept, and perhaps even now, am still not ready to accept. Grown Ups 2 is a surrealist masterpiece. Even saying it now I feel like a fool, a jester, but I can’t deny what I saw in Grown Ups 2, as much as I can try.

I’m not sure where to begin when describing this film, do I start with the climatic war between adults and teenagers, or the ‘weekend at Bernie’s’ sequence featuring a passed-out school bus driver and an idiotic school principle. There are so many insane sequences in this film that it becomes indescribable, almost a fever dream featuring Kevin James repeatedly burp snarting, a concept I don’t even want to explain out of fear for my own sanity. Early on whilst watching this film I began to wonder, does Adam Sandler know what he’s doing? Or is he just making it up as he goes along? I’m not sure which option scares me more, the idea that a person can knowingly create such a frankly insane piece of cinema, or the idea that there is no plan behind it, and everything happening on screen has no explanation behind it. Around 30 minutes into watching the film, something changed in me, I began to laugh, it felt unnatural, after all I was horrified at what I was seeing more than anything else, but still I began to laugh. What was happening to me? Why was I laughing? Was I insane? And then I realised, Grown Ups 2 isn’t a simple family comedy film, it’s a surrealist work, nothing makes sense because it isn’t meant to. We are all simply passengers in Sandler’s dream as he careers from road to road, seatbelt off and no sign of slowing down.

What had I learnt from this experience I thought to myself as the screen faded to black, was any of this worth it? And then I realised what Sandler was trying to teach me with this film, I shouldn’t need to have learnt anything, sometimes, things don’t need a justification to exist, and that’s okay, so, thank you, Adam for teaching me such a valuable lesson. Thank you. Or maybe I’ve just gone insane.

Written By Joe Cushion