Table of contents

Grownups 1

On democracy & men

Sandler plays a rich, successful Hollywood agent. His designer wife wants to take him to Milan for fashion week. His spoilt kids do not even like playing, except on computers. They follow celebrity gossip; they love luxury. He wants them to be like him. His wife doubts her mothering skills, because she is an elegant woman now. They hire a Chinese nanny; being American, he is ashamed of that. – He cancelled Milan & rented the lake house. He set the stage; now he must wisely improve events. Part of growing is getting one’s life straightened out, what with wife & friends… Part is making sure the kids grow up properly.

American men work for a living. They are ashamed to fail, proud to succeed. They mind their own business & like others to do the same. Here, two men work for a living; another is a playboy; another a New Age cook; & the last one a housewife. Everyone has a place in America. Friendship binds them, despite their differences. They went to the same school in their town. They were the basketball team. At their best, they were champs. Usually, they went around & adventured, as boys were wont to do.

After they won their only championship, celebrating at a lake house, the boys were told by their coach that they won because they gave their all – that a life so lived is without regrets. Growing up, the five separated, what with women & jobs… But they reunite for coach’s funeral, on Fourth of July weekend, back in New England.

One lost his job, but is ashamed to say. The stay-at-home dad, ashamed & harassed, cannot deal with his working wife & her mother. The playboy learns his friends are ashamed of his womanizing. Being friends, their jokes allow them to speak their minds without giving insult. The spontaneous laughter at stupid things frees men from the conventions. Eventually, Sandler helps his friends to start a business, now they will all make money & work together.

But he deserves happiness also because he reconciles with strangers. He loses the rematch of that championship game. In losing, he allows his adversaries a needed feeling of success, for he does not want to humiliate them, his son something to fight for. His friends know his skill, though he hides his superiority. The father spurs his boy to confident independence by appearing now strong & now weak as circumstances require. He is both noble & prudent. He knows men & their motives. He does not ask of people what they cannot give, certainly not gratitude. Resignation defends familial happiness, encouraging gentility even to the ungentle. He knows the good must be generous.

Adam Sandler’s fun family vacation movie.