by Scott Weinberg
Here's the straight scoop, comedy fans: If a new movie comes emblazoned with the term "Happy Madison" in the opening credits, you should run screaming. Not since the words "National Lampoon" has a two-word phrase been more synonomous with "Wretched Comedy." See, "Happy Madison" is the production company in which all of Adam Sandler's old bong buddies get to make their very own movies, despite the fact that Sandler's old bong buddies stopped being funny, like, eight years ago. And since Sandler, Spade, and Schneider are so busy making their own pieces of garbage, there's now a vacancy, which means that a new guy, one who's spent the last several years feeding off of Sandler's scraps, is about to make the leap to leading man status. His name is Allen Covert, he looks like a retarded version of Mel Gibson, and he is to comedy what Yoko Ono is to The Beatles.Desperate to slap any old piece of teen-friendly flotsam onto the screen, Happy Madison enlisted Covert to pen and star in ... something. Anything that might create a new "star" for the production company and, let's be honest, get Covert to stop begging Sandler for his own spotlight. For the record, Mr. Covert has had bit parts in Going Overboard, Airheads, Happy Gilmore, Bulletproof, The Waterboy, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, and The Longest Yard, thereby proving that the textbook definition of "a charmed life" occurs when you happen to be a childhood friend of a generous man who suddenly becomes a huge movie star.
"Idiots. Screenwriting first, bong hits SECOND."
Heck, I don't blame the guys entirely; if I became a big, powerful comedy star, I'd try to get some cameo roles for my friends, too. But by the time I was big enough to have my own production company, I'd start to be a little more pragmatic about things. "Hey, Allen, yeah. Um, this is my reputation and my production company we're talking about here. Tell you what; just go swim in the pool, order some pizzas, smoke some weed, and you'll get your annual cameo next April. I just sent you a check with 5 zeros in it, so let's just forget all about this Grandma's Boy script you love so much."
Witless, plotless, and amateurish to the point of embarrassment, Grandma's Boy is not so much a movie as it is a filmed party in which everyone onscreen is having fun (and getting paid), with precisely zero regard for anyone who might actually drop some greenbacks to see the thing. This is a movie that assumes fart noises are the pinnacle of all things amusing, that The Matrix is just ripe for the spoofing, that stupid things like "story," "creativity," and "character" are only intended for nerds or old people, and that Allen Covert, because he is friends with Adam Sandler, is (by osmosis I assume) a really hilarious guy. All of these assumptions are wrong.
The plot (and I actually chuckled when I typed the word "plot") is this: a 35-year-old pothead is forced to live in the same house as three old women.
You expected more? OK.
The pothead in question works as a video game tester, because market research indicates that if you were (hypothetically) making a movie entirely bereft of "plot," the two things you must have, in order to steal a few dollars from the 15-year-olds, are video games and marijuana. And speaking as a longtime fan of both, trust me when I tell you pot-smoking Xboxers this: Grandma's Boy sucks. So divorced from the actuality of pot smoking and video game enjoyment is Grandma's Boy that it feels like something cobbled together by a few 60-year-olds who are just sure that "weed" + "video games" = "free money from the stupid, stupid teenagers."
Not content to let Covert flounder around the screen for 85 minutes, and fairly certain that the harrowing humiliation of gals like Doris Roberts and Shirley Jones is not enough to fill an entire movie, director Nicholaus Goossen (who began his career as Covert's coffee gopher, if you can believe it) enlists some pathetic cameos from the likes of David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Kevin Nealon. The formerly funny SNL veterans play, respectively, a whiny vegan waiter, a hateful Iranian (?) landlord, and a new-age hippie fool. Yep, that Happy Madison crew really does have its finger on the pulse of what's funny these days. I freely acknowledge that the humor level in Grandma's Boy is intended to be obvious, lowbrow, and silly, but as the flick's nonstop incompetence washed over me, I was thinking about adjectives more like desperate, moronic, and pathetic.
I won't even bore you with the horrendous way this project was shot, cut, or scrawled with crayon onto a roll of toilet paper. This thing makes the Police Academy movies look like the collected works of Billy Wilder.
And don't give me any of that "you're an old clueless fart" stuff, because there are tons of silly "pot comedies" that exhibit some real craftsmanship and creativity, which is why Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Up in Smoke, and Dazed and Confused will still be hot rentals long after Grandma's Boy is buried under a layer of dust. Comedy fans deserve a hell of a lot better than this. Yes, even the really, really stoned ones.But I'm pleased to predict that the Happy Madison shit-parade is about to hit a wall. If last summer proved anything, it's that audiences are more interested in raunchy comedies with wit ("Wedding Crashers") and heart ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") than they are in movie about feces, farts, and dildoes. Or am I mistaken when I note that "Deuce Bigalow 2" made less than $23 million while those other two comedies cracked $100 million apiece? No, I don't think I am.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13713&reviewer=128
originally posted: 01/09/06 12:33:15