Film Review “Grown Ups 2”

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 41 mins

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ah, Adam Sandler. You have amused me for years with your comedy albums and films. You’ve even amazed me with some strong dramatic work (though, to be honest, when you’re working for Paul Thomas Anderson you’re pretty much working for the best). I’ve defended you over the years because, like your audience, I’m a 13 year old boy in an old man’s body. That being said, “Grown Ups 2” is one of your better films in recent years.

When we first met the cast they were assembling to attend the funeral of their childhood basketball coach. Lenny (Sandler) was a successful Hollywood player. Lamansoff (James) and Kurt (Rock) were family men and Marcus (David Spade) was a man-child who would sleep with anything. Some things never change. “Grown Ups 2” finds all four men now living back in their old home town. Where they had to experience the ups and downs of growing up now that rite of childhood goes to their children. Lenny’s kids get teased because of their past life in Hollywood but everyone, as is the fate of teenagers, have their own problems to endure. Those problems, and the lessons learned, form the basis for the majority of the film. A subplot, with an unruly group of college kids, led by a hilarious Taylor Lautner, forces the adults to deal with similar problems as they too are bullied away from their favorite swimming hole. Not a hard plot to deal with, to be sure, but it’s enough to keep the film moving.

Acting wise, the four returning stars (no Rob Schneider to occasionally yell “You can do it!” this time) have a great chemistry, no doubt built on by their personal friendships. Their wives (Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph) have learned to accept their mentally under-developed men because, when it comes down to it, they’re excellent fathers. Or at least try to be. As in most Sandler films, the cast is loaded with “regulars:” pals Nick Swardson, Peter Dante, Allen Covert; “Saturday Night Live” vets like Tim Meadows, Jon Lovitz and Colin Quinn. Even some of his sport buddies, including Dan Patrick, Chris Berman and Shaquille O’Neal make an appearance. Enough famous faces to keep the audience buzzing each time a new one popped up. Some of the gags are childish but really, isn’t that why you go to a movie like this in the first place? I know that’s why I do.

CD Review: We Came As Romans “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be”

We Came As Romans
“Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be”
Equal Vision Records
Producer: Joey Sturgis
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” is the follow up release to We Came As Roman’s 2009 release “To Plant A Seed”. The album features 12 new tracks from the Michigan based metal-core act and debuted at # 20 on Billboard’s Top 200. “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” was produced by Joey Sturgis (Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!) and released via Equal Vision Records.

“Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” is chocked full of catchy break downs and melodic vocal harmonies that I am sure will ensue the most fiercest of circle pits. Tracks such as “Mis//Understanding” “Stay Inspired” are shining examples of in your face metal-core. The albums title track “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” showcases the band as a hole providing a variety of stylistic performances both vocally and instrumentally. A person favorite of mine was the track “Cast The First Stone” which had some really intricate guitar playing combined with an interesting array of syth samples.

“Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” overall I felt was a decent album. However, I would have liked to have heard a little more diversity from track to track. That aside “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” was enjoyable to listen to. If you are into bands such as Devil Wears Prada and A Day To Remember then you definitely will want to pick up the newest release from We Came As Romans titled “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be”.

Track Listing:
1.)    Mis//Understanding
2.)    Everything As Planned
3.)    What I Wished I Never Had
4.)    Cast The First Stone
5.)    The Way That We Have Been
6.)    A War Inside
7.)    Stay Inspired
8.)    Just Keep Breathing
9.)    Views That Never Cease, To Keep me From myself
10.)  What My Heart Held
11.)  I Can’t Make Your Decisions For You
12.)  Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be

Be sure to check out our interview with We Came As Romans guitarist Josh Moore. Also check out our review of the bands show in Rochester, NY.