Sandler recruits his closest friends for this slapstick version of The Big Chill. Kevin James is the overweight one, David Spade is the lothario, Rob Schneider is the hippie-dippy guy, and Chris Rock is the somewhat effeminate member of the bunch. Indeed, Rock's casting is the only somewhat surprising thing about this movie that's chock-full of pratfalls, hot girls in short-shorts, and never-ending barbs. The boys love to make fun of each other, but unfortunately, their swipes are the meat of this movie. To hear more of what I mean, read more.
The actors play a group of childhood friends who reunite for the funeral of their grade-school basketball coach. With children and wives in tow, they spend the weekend in a cabin to reconnect — with each other and with their families. It's actually a very well-meaning, sweet message for a film that also tries to get its laughs from squirting breast milk. It's a contradiction that Sandler seems to struggle with: this moral of family togetherness in the midst of crude, gross-out humor. I'd actually argue that many of the jokes aren't as kid-friendly as the trailer might have you believe. What's worse, they're just not that funny.
Where the movie does earn its cred is in its cameos. Sandler brings in all of the old gang — Colin Quinn, Steve Buscemi, and Tim Meadows play members of a rival basketball team, while Norm Macdonald's butt makes a quick appearance. If you've been following Sandler's films from the beginning, then you're sure to smile at the dose of nostalgia. Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph also get in on the act as the mens' better halves, but their moments are few. Let's face it, this film is about the boys, and Sandler and Co. are having the time of their lives. Sandler rips on James's weight, Rock calls Sandler "Mr. Hollywood," and they all take jabs at Schneider. It's seems like a fun ride for this group of real-life friends — it's just a shame it's not a better time for the audience.
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