Friday, June 25, 2010

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- Grown Ups

Last week, we all were lucky to have lived long enough to see not the one of the best movies of the week, not one of the best movies of the year, but possibly one of the best movies of all time. I'm talking, of course, about Jonah Hex. This movie broke down so many barriers and set so many new standards that it seems unjust to classify it as a mere movie. This time last week, I would have thought Jonah Hex to be a sure lock to sweep next year's Oscars and to achieve box office success that would make the grosses on Avatar look like some straight-to-DVD American Pie sequel. But that was last week and, since then, a miracle happened. A movie has come out that has caused Jonah Hex to fade from memory to such a point that I find it hard to remember a single scene and I saw it four times. This new new modern classic is the comedy Grown Ups.

Directing legend Dennis Dugan, whose previous efforts like You Don't Mess With The Zohan and I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry have caused him to be mentioned in the same breath of talents like John Ford and Orson Welles, has done it again. This avant-garde innovation definitely has the Duganesque flair for seamlessly blending and balancing comedy with real word pathos in order to create something exceedingly unique and yet as comforting as something you've seen in hundreds of low brow comedies.

As John Ford worked again and again with John Wayne and James Stewart, Dugan once again teams with people like Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider. Whatever you want to say about those two, you have to admit that movies have been made and that they've been in a few.

Grown Ups centers on five men who were friends when they were twelve and reunite in their 40s. The joys of childhood are now a distant memory buried under the drudgery of kids, mortgages and other adult concerns. I won't tell you if the movie has a happy ending in which they reform the bonds of friendship that made them so close in their younger years while also recapturing the joy of youth and the sense of wonder that makes being a kid so joyful. If I told you that happened, it would be a major spoiler so I will not tell you if a major Hollywood studio's comedy designed to appeal to mass audiences has what could be called a predictable ending.

I would like to discuss what will be regarded in years to come as one of the great moments of cinema in the same way that Casabalanca's "Play it, Sam" scene and Harry Lime's Ferris Wheel speech from The Third Man are. There's a scene in which the five childhood friends are all in a pool when one of their daughters points out they put a chemical in the water that turns urine blue. The father says that this is just an old wives tale. After this, the five friends give each other wry grins and knowing looks as blue clouds begin to form around their bodies. I actually wept when I saw this. I wept at the idea of grown men recapturing the joy and wonder of their youth. I wept at the rejection of societal norms and the embrace of individuality. I wept at the sheer love of life and all it has to offer symbolized by the piss filled pool.

Go see Grown Ups today then see it again and again. Let it change the way you look at things as it surrounds like a Blue Cloud of Freedom.

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