Despite it’s poor reception from critics, “Grown Ups 2” made $247 million in theaters. (Photo courtesy of Colombia Pictures)
“School Ties” (1992):
“School Ties” is a movie about a high school star quarterback (Brendan Fraser) in the 1950s who has to keep his religious identity as a Jew concealed.
“School Ties” is fairly generic when it comes to these prep school movies. None of the scenes that transpire are a surprise, and it would be easy to guess which characters are going to do what. It compensates for that with the undertone of social discrimination, some subtle similarities between the two main characters played by Fraser and Matt Damon, and the performances which engages the audience and distracts them from the predictability.
The only other big problem with the movie is there is a subplot dedicated to a strict and unlikable teacher (Zeljko Ivanek) whose contribution to the story and characters in minimal, and could easily have been taken out.
Final Grade: B
“Grown Ups 2” (2013):
“Grown Ups 2” is another Adam Sandler movie, with all of the same bad and unfunny attempts at humor that all of his other movies have.
It comes complete with all of the same tropes as any other Adam Sandler movie. Adam Sandler has a love interest that is out of his league, it has all of the same low brow and uncreative humor that Sandler is known for, cameos by random celebrities (Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn, Shaquille O’Neil, Jon Lovitz, etc.), and obnoxious product placement.
“Grown Ups 2” essentially has no plot, and is a series of things and set pieces happening to different unfunny characters that ultimately don’t feel like they have any effect because everything is easily solved with no negative consequences. At the very least, only some of the jokes are intolerably annoying, there are several mildly amusing jokes sprinkled in throughout, and most of the scenes that happen do have some amount of payoff, even if it is weak payoff.
Final Grade: D
“Edge of Darkness” (2010):
Like “School Ties” and “Grown Ups 2,” “Edge of Darkness” is a movie with a fairly generic story. This time, it’s a detective (Mel Gibson) that goes rogue when confronted with a conspiratorial plot.
The movie is, simply put, a mess of reasonless character motivations and horribly executed situations. Gibson’s character goes rogue on the case and doesn’t share the information he accumulates with his fellow police officers for absolutely no reason. The bad guys know Gibson is a threat to them, but they don’t have a hitman kill him for absolutely no reason. Ninety percent of the movie feels like there is no raising of stakes because of horrible execution. The last ten percent when things finally start happening, it all feels like a rushed way to clean up any loose ends because of horrible execution.
On top of all of that, all of the actors literally just speak in grumbly monotone voices with Mel Gibson only occasionally transcending that low bar to elicit an emotion in a grumbly monotone way.
Final Grade: D-