We all are told to make the most of our youthful innocence. The only responsibilities we know as kids is to go to school and church on a regular basis, more or less. After that, you could do anything you wanted. Staying up all night, hanging with friends, going on adventures in the woods, playing video games, watching TV, and just plan old having fun. Most of us grew up with a small circle of close friends, and sometimes we lose touch with each other through the course of life.
For friends Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler), Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James), Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock), Marcus Higgins (David Spade), and Rob Hillard (Rob Schneider), they had a great childhood, culminating in a youth basketball championship with their collective coach and father figure, Bobby ‘Buzzer’ Ferdinando. As they got older, they moved away and went on to lead lives of varying success and happiness. The group is reunited when, 30 years after their championship year, coach Ferdinando dies. They all get the news, and are reunited at the funeral, where hilarity ensues with a rendition of Ava Maria by Rob Schneider (CLASSIC!)
Afterward, the families decide to spend the holiday weekend at a traditional lake house together, where as kids they had spent many summers before. There are plenty of hilarious antics as they vastly different dynamics of all five families collide in a confined space. From swinging ropes to relationships to the zipline at a local water park, it’s a summer adventure for sure!
After it’s all said and done, everyone ends up being a better person and happier with where they are in life. Even the opposing team from the championship game, left to a life full of unfulfilled dreams ever since their ‘tragic’ loss (and multiple claims of the game winning shot being invalid), gets a morale boost at the hands of Lenny in a rematch to end the story.
At heart, Grown Ups is a big SNL reunion, with a bunch of big comedy actors and some other pretty high profile celebs (Selma Hayek!) The story also has some pretty important messages buried deep in all the hilarity. It was an example that no matter where you end up in life, you are never too important or too rich to spend time with other people and respect them for who they are, and that you can never truly leave your friends behind. I know there are probably many of you that have grown apart from someone (or multiple people) that were once a special part of your life. I’m sure you know that even if you don’t necessarily agree with what they have become or the choices that they make, you still care about them as a friend.
Maybe I am reading a little too much into a Sandler film, but I really think the most important things to take away from this movie are: Always be a (responsible) kid at heart, and never forget those friends, family members, and the community that helped shape us into the people that we are today, or simply, don’t forget your past. It’s the little things that matter in life, and I think Grown Ups was a great way to show that to us.