(On TV, January 2015) I watched Grown Ups 2 before its prequel, and no one will be surprised to learn that it didn’t make a bit of difference. The scripts is written so loosely as to shrug at continuity. This is a lazily-conceived film in which comedians get to practically play themselves on-screen, lounging around and telling lame jokes. Fans of those comedians will love seeing them play their persona (I’m a big fan of Chris Rock and Maya Rudolph and I liked seeing them on-screen, so this is speaking from personal experience) but otherwise there isn’t much substance here. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came to an understanding about the appeal of Adam Sandler’s movies. They, simply put, are comfort movies. Dealing in archetypes and cheap jokes, they provide certainly and predictability. That may appear simplistic, but it’s not given that they can appeal even to those with nothing in common with their characters. Watching Grown Ups, I know exactly what I’m going to get, which values are being espoused, which stereotypes I will see on-screen. I become part of a larger society with well-understood rules and conventions. There’s comfort in not having to think, and understanding the context without making any effort. Again; I realize that this sounds arrogant, but it really isn’t: My take-away from Grown Ups is that it takes quite a bit of cleverness (much of it innate) to pull off its particular sense of comedy. I may not be stimulated by the result, but I can’t argue that it works. Alas, I also remember Grown Ups 2, and realize how much worse this formula can be.