A Letter To Adam Sandler and ‘Grown Ups 2’

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There’s little point in this publication producing yet another evisceration of yet another heinous Adam Sandler production. Grown Ups 2 is an offensively unfunny, abhorrent mess of a motion picture that reminds us to cherish the comedies that make us laugh. But of course, you already knew that. Instead we give you a sternly-worded letter from a genuinely concerned and perplexed writer.

Dear Mr. Sandler, 

It has come to my attention that the hundreds upon hundreds of negative reviews you’ve received throughout the course of your career have yet to make a significant (if any) impact on your choices as an actor and producer. That’s why instead of penning a review chastising you for making what may be the worst film thus far in 2013, I decided to write this letter with one probing question in mind: What’s your motivation for making Grown Ups 2?

Surely it can’t be money anymore. In merely 14 years Happy Madison (your production company) has released 32 movies, grossing over two billion dollars (domestically) in the process.

Among those 32 films (33 if we’re counting Grown Ups 2) there is one movie that perfectly encapsulates my frustration with your work: Funny People. In Judd Apatow’s criminally undervalued movie you play a seasoned comedian who has – shamefully – made one dismal, superficial comedy after the next. It’s there that we see you acknowledge what you’ve become. And yet, you continue this cynical and methodical mass production of soulless filmmaking designed for audiences you know you can and will make money off of.

If you’re not driven by monetary reasons, then it must be because you’re a serial sadist — feeding off the pain of those who consume each of your demeaning and derivative films, year after year. I resort to sadism because if Grown Ups 2 is any indication, you don’t have much interest in storytelling. Rarely has a comedy been as amorphously constructed and bizarrely plotless as the dizzying ’80s nostalgia trip you’ve created here.

What’s more troubling than Grown Ups 2, though, is why you’ve done what you’ve done. Films like Punch-Drunk Love, Funny People, and Spanglish prove that you’re an actor capable of so much more than tasteless, crass comedy. Even in your earlier work like  The Wedding Singer and Big Daddy you created stories (although raunchy) with an underlining kindness to themUnfortunately, those films now seem to exist in an alternate universe — one where you decided not to take the path of least resistance.

I try with the best of my abilities to be optimistic, even in the face of cynicism. And so I’ll go into your next film, whatever that may be, whenever that may be, with an open mind hoping and longing for a comedy with comedy, for a film that makes me laugh and smile like Big Daddy did all those years ago. Although shaken, I still – despite my skepticism and perhaps against my better judgement – have faith you in Mr. Sandler. Perhaps there will be a day where you come through, like we both know you can, once more. For now we’re stuck with Grown Ups 2. Remember not to see it in theaters tomorrow.

Sincerely a cautious, yet hopeful viewer,

~ Sam Fragoso

  • http://thevoid99.blogspot.com/ Steven Flores

    Adam Sandler used to care about making us laugh and such. Nowadays, I see him more as a capitalist sadist who is willing to do anything to make us feel dumb while shelling out whatever idiotic product placement on the side. I’ve pretty much given up on the fact that he’ll never go back to making films that matter because he just seems too content in making us feel stupid.

    • http://www.moviemezzanine.com/ Sam Fragoso

      This is, unfortunately, very true.

  • http://www.filmschoolrejects.com RobHunter

    Haven’t seen the movie yet (or ever) so I’m not commenting on it directly, but you forgot a third option. Your tally of his box-office success shows that people (inexplicably) like his movies… so maybe he sincerely likes making people laugh. Sure we’d prefer him to aim higher, but that doesn’t necessarily negate what he is doing.

    Also, you can’t choose to italicize some movie titles and not others. It’s all or nothing Sam!

    • http://www.moviemezzanine.com/ Sam Fragoso

      This is something I’ve been grappling with for quite some time.

      There’s certainly an audience for his movies. You’re right, some people laugh. But I think he’s merely turned into a cunning businessman who has effectively created a comedic formula that consistently makes money.

      And fine, good on him for being financially successful. However, he knows he can be more. These films really are poison though. I’m not bemoaning or claiming ‘Grown Ups 2’ signifies the death of cinema. I’m just saying Sandler is fully aware of the stupidity he’s producing and perpetuating, and it’s wrong.

      • http://thevoid99.blogspot.com/ Steven Flores

        Exactly. It’s become more of the point where there’s no difference with the movies he’s making nowadays. This is how the typical Adam Sandler film can be described. Adam Sandler derp-de-derp does derpity-derpy-derp and diddily-doopy-doop and brought to you by derp, durka-der, and derpity-derpity-derp. It’s lazy filmmaking at its worst that has more in common with the soulless parody garbage of Friedberg/Seltzer where millions and millions of dollars are being wasted to appeal to the lowest common denominator as it has no sense of drive, no passion, no effort.

        Porno films with its low-budget and bad acting is way better than this. At least a porno film tries to inject some idea of a story no matter how bad it is as it is fully aware of what it is and makes no apologies for it. Sandler and his cohorts just don’t seem to care just as long as they’re making lots of money while making other corporations lots of money where they make everyone seem like fools. I won’t be surprised if “Grown Ups 2” does go to #1 but it will make me very sad to see that people will waste their time watching that instead of something that is presented with care and love like “Pacific Rim”.

  • http://www.fernbyfilms.com/ Rodney Twelftree

    Best letter I’ve read in many a long year, Sam. Bravo, and, if I may – ditto.

    • http://www.moviemezzanine.com/ Sam Fragoso

      Glad you enjoyed it Rodney.

  • Dee

    Dear Mr. Sandler, I just saw the grown ups 2 movie. I’ am a fan but I believed you can do better than that. I expected more but despite all that you manage to pull up some funny scenes. Respect the work, deep down every body in that movie can pull that off way much better work. Good luck on your next project.