Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider head up an all-star comedy cast in Columbia Pictures’ Grown Ups, the story of five childhood friends who reunite thirty years later to meet each others’ families for the first time. When their beloved former basketball coach dies, they return to their home town to spend the summer at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier.
Sandler came up with the idea of a guy who feels like he and his family have lost their perspective of what’s important in life. So, when he unexpectedly has to go back to his home town, he decides to use it as an opportunity to get back to his roots and get his family on the right track. To do this, he rents a lake house and invites his old friends and their families to come and stay with them for the Fourth of July weekend.
"The whole project was really appealing," says director Dennis Dugan. "These real-life friends get together for a summer to make a movie about friends who get together for a summer at a lake house. It’s a bittersweet reunion, because their coach has died, but they’re also happy to see each other. They’re meeting each other’s families--it’s them and their wives and girlfriends and kids and dogs--at a moment when they’re all transitioning in their lives."
The underlying sweetness to the story proved to be the key in bringing the all-star talent together. "It’s a really, really good script that Adam wrote with Fred Wolf," says Rob Schneider. "It’s very funny and it has interesting characters. Dennis really encouraged us to make it real--get out there, play around with it, and make it a natural performance."
As co-star Maya Rudolph puts it, "There are a lot of funny people in this movie, but it’s not just a lot of funny people in this movie. It’s a movie about old friends played by people who really are old friends. You can see that history come out in the relationships."
"Adam created something special for all of us," notes Salma Hayek who plays Sandler’s wife. "All of our children are about the same age, and mostly girls, and they all bonded immediately. It was really a family environment--it was perfect."
In the movie, the five characters are supposed to have enough natural basketball talent that as children they could win a local championship. However, the guys agree: only Sandler and James have game, with Spade and Schneider a step back, and Rock bringing up the rear. "I’m OK--I have a few trick shots," says Spade. "Sandler’s the best of us, and Kevin’s pretty good. I’m OK, Schneider’s OK... sorry, Rock."
"I am not an athlete," admits Rock. "Can I play? No. I couldn’t play when I was young, but at least then, I played a lot, so I found ways to contribute. Now that I’m older, I really suck. It’s just horrible."
The job of balancing all of the talent and realizing the vision for the film falls to Dennis Dugan, a veteran Happy Madison Productions collaborator. "I’ve lost count of how many movies I’ve made with Adam," he jokes. "I’ve done four movies with Rob Schneider, three with David Spade, three with Chris Rock, and this is my second with Kevin James."
Opening soon across the Philippines, Grown Ups is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.