25 June 2010

In Other Words, It Sucks

I sometimes check the Rotten Tomatoes website when movies come out to get an idea of the critical consensus around films. It's not the definitive way to select a movie to see but it does give you an idea of where it stands with critics. More than that it can be quite entertaining when a real stinker hits the theaters.

A few months ago a Jennifer Anniston film called The Bounty Hunter fouled cineplexes and the odor was so bad it rated an 8% on the Tomatometer. That means only 8% of "top critics" cared for it, specifically nine out of 115. Anything below a 60% is a bad sign. Anything below 15% indicates something that should be taken out and shot.

Rotten Tomatoes provides links to all the reviews they use for their ratings. I like to scan the reviews of the truly foul, like The Bounty Hunter as it makes for fun reading. Film critics should not be pitied for having to sit through tripe. After all they're getting paid for their time and they then get to wreak revenge on the cretins who made the movie through their scathing reviews.

So it was with great eagerness that I checked out Rotten Tomatoes last night to see where stood a movie called Grown Ups. It has a cast of notable funny men including Adam Sandler, Rob Schnieder, Kevin James and Chris Rock. For my money only Rock is really funny but he's as guilty as the rest of regularly appearing in some really, really bad movies.  This would appear to be one of them. Grown Ups' Current Tomatometer rating is a sterling 7%. Ouch!

As my family can attest I predicted that Grown Ups would be a bomb when we saw a preview for it on the telly. If the preview for a comedy doesn't make you chuckle (it is after all supposed to "sell" the movie) then the film itself has got no chance. In the preview what was supposed to pass for yuks was Kevin James falling off a swing rope. My suspicions about Grown Ups were further confirmed when I saw Salma Hayek (she's finally given up trying to wait out my marriage) on Letterman earlier this week. She brought a clip from the film (I know, what's she doing in this, right?) which entailed her throwing a rock that hit a kid in the crotch. If someone getting hit in the crotch is a film's idea of humor, you can rest assured that creative minds weren't at work. (The cast also includes Maria Bello and I'm ashamed of her. If she needed the money why not come to me?)

But I do not write to pile unto Grown Ups, which I'm sure will do just fine with the hoi polloi who think film critics are a bunch of snobs anyway. I just wanted to share what those elitists are saying about the latest garbage to come off Hollywood's assembly line.

Here are some samples courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes:

It doesn’t get worse than Grown Ups' Adam Sandler sloppy entry into this year’s man-child-comedy sweepstakes. Lazy, mean-spirited, incoherent, infantile and, above all, witless, the farce — which focuses on five 40-something guys in full regression — suggests a hangover from The Hangover. If squirting breast milk, simultaneous urination by slobs in a pool at a water park, and a repeatedly flatulent grandmother are your idea of fun, I say go for it. - Stephen Holden, New York Times.

You find yourself chuckling at a lonely gag that halfway works -- not that I can remember any right now -- and end up shivering with cold sweat, convinced that watching Grown Ups has permanently damaged your sanity and intelligence. - Andre O'Hehir, Salon.com.

The new Adam Sandler comedy has all the charm of a home movie that does not star your own family, which means it's overly sentimental, filled with you-had-to-be-there moments, bad jokes and even worse camera angles. - Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times.

Horrible. I watched it through my fingers. It's the snuff film of comedy. - Victoria Alexander, Films in Review.com.

Dugan and Sandler are like the BP of lowbrow gags. Their movies are an unpluggable gusher of juvenile comedy; the good gags wash up along with the bad, and it's your job to sort through the muck. - Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News.

Grown Ups is a pleasant, genial, good-hearted, sometimes icky comedy that's like spending a weekend with well-meaning people you don't want to see again any time real soon. - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

If you’ve ever wondered what The Big Chill would be like with old Saturday Night Live castmates -- well, why would you ever have done that? - Wesley Morris, Boston Globe.

It's like The Big Chill made by morons. - Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic.

Adam Sandler spends more time laughing at jokes than making them in Grown Ups, perhaps the slackest, shabbiest comedy in the star's increasingly dreadful oeuvre. - Nick Schager, Slant Magazine.

It's obvious on the face of it that Sandler is, like so many of his characters, stuck in a midlife rut and spinning his wheels, desperate for a way out. Paging Paul Thomas Anderson, please. - Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle.

Viewers who enjoy any single gag in the new Adam Sandler vehicle Grown Ups are in for a treat, as they’ll be able to experience it again five or 10 more times. - Scott Tobias, AV Club.

What might just be the summer’s worst movie, no small feat in a season already reeking of foul cinematic emissions. - Peter Howell, Toronto Star.

A tepid, formulaic and disappointingly random series of sight gags of the kick-in-the-crotch / gassy-grandma / run-into-trees variety. - Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Senteniel.

Come on Sandler, you've got all the money in the world. Challenge yourself instead of headlining crap like this. - Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.

The good news for Adam Sandler is that people may finally stop razzing him about "Little Nicky." The bad news is that any dramatic street cred he may have built up with "Punch-Drunk Love" or even "Funny People" will be as forgotten as Hitler's penmanship. - Mike Ward, Richmond.com.

When Grown Ups star and co-writer Adam Sandler repeatedly slapped Rob Schneider in the face with a dehydrated banana, I was jealous of Schneider, who suffered less than I did getting slapped upside the head by this rotting fruit of a comedy. - Kevin Smith, New York Post.

During "Grown Ups," I felt a deep sadness every time the audience laughed and the sounds of their chuckles turned into the ringing of the cash register, and all I thought was a grim, simple truth: This, America, is why we can't have nice things. - James Rocchi - MSN Movies.

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