The 9 Most Scathing Critical Responses to Grown Ups

Hoo boy. If you couldn't smell Grown Ups oozing down the summer-movie pipe months ago, there's definitely no escaping it now. At least that's the general consensus today among critics, whose reactions vary from visceral hate to a kind of psychic daze you might see among victims of severe head trauma and/or Sex and the City 2. Let's see what there is to see!

9. "It assaults us with an awkward mix of humor (which is rarely funny) and heart (which is never touching), but even more amateurishly, it features copious cutaways to characters laughing at each others' jokes. [...] It's enough to make you wonder whether watching all these people having dinner -- without the guise of making a movie with actual characters and a plot -- might have been more enjoyable." -- Christy Lemire, AP

8. "But it's harder to forgive them, or the movie, for its complete shapelessness, its relentless self-congratulatory back-slapping, its refusal to give its women characters anything remotely interesting or amusing to do. Grown Ups (which was directed by Dennis Dugan and written by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf) isn't just unfunny; it's so dull that it actually makes putting on an ironed shirt, communicating openly with your spouse and clocking in dutifully at a tedious 9-to-6 job -- in other words, doing the stuff most grown-ups have to do -- look like fun." -- Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline

7. "It's just that Grown Ups director Dennis Dugan, a frequent Sandler collaborator, is such a dang lunkhead when it comes to slapstick. On the crudest possible level he lands the punch lines often enough to please the folks and make the money, so there's no fiscal incentive for him to change a thing about his directorial approach to anything, really. But if he ever learns to sustain a shot and build a joke visually within the frame, rather than slamming it together in the edit, he'll give us better comedies." Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

grown_ups_responses_mid.jpg6. "I'll happily take the failed-adulthood comedies of Apatow and Phillips and their ilk, from Old School to Knocked Up to Hot Tub Time Machine -- I'll take them, please -- over a condescending and witless paean to supposed real life like Sandler and director Dennis Dugan's Grown Ups. This duo has a long track record of making dopey hit comedies, from Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy to I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and You Don't Mess With the Zohan. No, I'm not the world's biggest fan, but compared to Grown Ups, those movies are the collected works of Orson Welles, Oscar Wilde and God." -- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

5. "To discuss the film's humor is to denigrate the term, since without a guiding concept, any sort of nuance to the characters or their circumstances, and any rhythm from one incident to the next, the entire endeavor is reduced to merely A-list masturbation, a flimsy example of smug stars thinking that even their spontaneously improvised sh*t smells like roses." -- Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

4. "When rock stars grow old and fade, they often resort to touring with other has-been howlers, hoping each act will attract enough fans for a reasonable facsimile of an audience. It's much the same desperation that brings us what might just be the summer's worst movie, no small feat in a season already reeking of foul cinematic emissions." -- Peter Howell, Toronto Star

3. "The relentless cruelty of this ugly, rancid movie requires a shocking lack of empathy for one's fellow humans if one is going to laugh at it -- it is alleged to be a comedy, after all -- until the moment when the film expects you to be able to turn your humanity back on for the would-be heartwarming bits... or at least that you will be able to fake it, like a sociopath does. Or like Grown Ups does." -- MaryAnn Johanson, FlickFilosopher

2. "Lazy, mean-spirited, incoherent, infantile and, above all, witless, the farce -- which focuses on five 40-something guys in full regression -- suggests a hangover from The Hangover. [...] The movie is symptomatic of a social attitude that might be called the security of incompetence. There's something reassuring about a bad movie that doesn't ask you to think or feel or even pay attention; we can all be happy D-minus students huddled together in communal self-disgust in a D-minus world." -- Stephen Holden, New York Times

1. "How desperate is Grown Ups? At one point it pauses and all but begs for applause as the guys proudly hoist an American flag. I momentarily wished for a Canadian birth certificate." -- Kyle Smith, NY Post

[Compiled with the aid of Rotten Tomatoes.]