Grown Ups 2 Hearing Adam Sandler introduced on TV as “a great American” – without any irony intended – made for one of the most bizarre moments of my Independence Day holiday. Maybe Sony should have opened this sequel to 2010’s Grown Ups a week earlier, given that its
star/co-writer is apparently now in line to have his face on Mount Rushmore or something. Once again, Sandler joins his fellow cornerstones of democracy, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade, to explore the pleasures of perpetual immaturity. But wait – did you notice that a name was missing from that list? Yep, Rob Schneider is nowhere to be seen this time, supposedly due to “scheduling conflicts.” Personally, I don’t know what could be more all-fired important than appearing in a movie with genuine American heroes. Perhaps Jessica Chastain needs to start tailing that obvious terrorist sympathizer, and fast. (PG-13) – Steve Schneider
Pacific Rim Oh, and over the holiday, I got to hear another TV pundit refer to Guillermo del Toro’s effects-heavy Pacific Rim as a clear attempt to ape the Transformers franchise, which means we aren’t any better at recognizing Japanese icons than we are at identifying homegrown heroes. I mean, what is the world coming to when we can’t spot a good Ultraman homage from 50 feet away? Enormous man-robots do battle with monsters from the deep, in a story Michael Bay will be delighted to learn originated squarely with him. He really was ahead of his time. (PG-13) – SS
The Lone Ranger The creative team behind Pirates of the Caribbean brings the same madcap elation to another once-spent genre, the western. Rollicking, realistic action sequences make for a damned good time: Whether you enjoy the film’s explosive grand finale is at least as credible proof of American citizenship as a photo I.D. What’s more, the movie sidesteps the recent trend of portraying action heroes as navel-gazing sadfaces, and there’s a slight subversiveness to the plot, which takes a clear-eyed look at the raw deal offered Native Americans, and the lies white people told to placate themselves. (PG-13) – Callie Enlow
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