With Grown Ups, Adam Sandler gets a bunch of his middle-aged mates and makes a movie about being, well, middle-aged mates. Paul Byrne tries to relate. And referee.

Grown Ups is something of a Saturday Night Live weekend reunion, Adam Sandler calling on former castmates Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider (alongside cuckoo, and Sandler’s occasional on-screen sparring partner, Kevin James, there for all the You’ve Been Framed moments) for a script he co-wrote with SNL vet Fred Wolf (Without A Paddle, Joe Dirt) about a bunch of fortysomething buddies going a little wild in the country after the death of their old school coach. Hotties Salma Hayek and Mario Bello are thrown in for good measure as two of the long-suffering wives of these big kids, the resulting Carry On relying on such comedy stalwarts as grandmothers farting, dogs Stephen Hawkins-barking, 48-month-old boys breastfeeding, peeing in lakes, peeing in public pools, and the Canadian accent. Oh, and insults. And being ugly. And being fat.

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It’s made over $150m in the US since being unleashed last month, so, no one here in The Wellington Room at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel is feeling any pain. This $80m film is already well on its way to a tidy profit as it begins its tour of the world. Which is good news for Adam Sandler (who struggled at the box-office with 2008’s Funny People and 2009’s Bedtime Stories), Chris Rock (who starred in and produced this year’s underperforming Death At A Funeral remake, and the low-budget documentary Good Hair), Kevin James (quietly scoring with each broad comedy since leaving TV’s Kings Of Queens) and David Spade (a man who has never truly had a hit in his long, crushingly mediocre career).

PAUL BYRNE: Okay, they told me I have only ten minutes here – I’m going to take 20…
ADAM SANDLER: 25! Go deep, go deep…

We’ll start with your troubled childhoods…
AS: I’m thinking you’re probably going to need 35 minutes now…
DAVID SPADE: You’ll have more than enough in ten minutes, we blab so much…

AS: Stay off Spade, buddy, if you want to keep it short…
DS: I talk too long…

Bob Hope once said that middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle. For you, Adam, was this about having fun with where you’re at in life now?
AS: I think you’ve got to acknowledge – this is for our future as comedians – you acknowledge the problems, so that people who are watching the movies, for the rest of our lives – other movies we do in the future – they don’t say, ‘Hey, he’s getting fat!’. In this movie, we say we’re getting fat, so, they can’t say anything after that. Does that make sense?
KJ: Beat ’em to the punch.
AS: Exactly.

This is a movie somewhere between Couples Retreat and Cocoon…
KJ: Yeah.
AS: That’s right.
CR: But funnier than both!

…it’s core argument being Hillbilly vs Hollywood, the suggestion being that it’s better to go pilgrim than PlayStation. Did you guys all learn some lessons here?
AS: Absolutely.
You all swam here, right? In recycled lentil boats…
DS: Yeah [laughs] It was paddle boats – we just leapt right in there…

Given that you’re all highly successful, I’m guessing you’re all pretty cocooned from the big, bad world out there, from that great big recession dragging everyone down. Does that ever tap into your lives?
AS: Well, David is doing a really good job at making sure his kid isn’t spoilt by not sending him any child support.

KJ: He’s good that way…
DS: My kids say, ‘What recession?’ every week. Anyway, Adam’s kids don’t understand the recession because they have a solid gold house. And he’s telling them, ‘We’re going to pull through this!’, and they’re saying, ‘Pull through what? Everything’s fine’. So, that’s tricky…

I get the impression you all brought your own insults to the set. When Rob Schneider is dismissed as an Oompa Loompa Elvis, or David is told he’s the third Olsen twin, I’m guessing they’re insults straight from the heart…
DS: Yeah, the Olsen twin reference was dum-dum here, Adam.
AS: We would help each other out – you know, ‘Say this…’. When it came to insulting Rob, everyone had ideas…
DS: [Laughs] We ganged up on him…
CR: Kevin came up with ‘eagle hands’ on his own.
AS: Yeah, that was on the flight.
KJ: Yeah, that was me…
CR: It just stuck. I can’t believe it stuck.
AS: Chris’ kids saw the movie, and saw him being called ‘eagle hands’, and they started crying.
KJ: They started looking at their own hands…

Nice. The motto of the story here is ‘When the final buzzer of life goes off, you’ll have no regrets’. Any regrets here?
AS: I got no, ‘I should have…’, but I got a lot of ‘I shouldn’t have..’.
KJ: Yeah, ‘I shouldn’t have liked butter so much’.

As broad as this movie is, it does try to suggest that we should think about where you’re going in life, and what you’re doing along the way. Does that thought enter your lives, or is it all good, being rich and famous?
KJ: We know we’re very blessed, and you certainly want to make sure your kids and your family appreciate everything you have.

Very last thing. Adam, your Lenny Feder is the most powerful agent in Hollywood, and we first meet him as he threatens to pull Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts from a movie. Truth is, the star system seems to have collapsed in Hollywood… perhaps it’s reality shows debasing the value of celebrity, perhaps it’s the democracy of the internet, or maybe it’s just cracked actors such as Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise wrecking the deal, but there does seem to be a new dawn, where the star is no longer sacred…
AS: I don’t know. I know that comic books are big, there’s no doubt about that. They seem to make a lot of money when they make movies with them.
CR: I’m doing The Archies next.
KJ: And guess who’s playing Jughead.

Finally, Lars von Trier got the money for that one…
AS: Every month, every movie, it all changes, what’s happening. One month, whatever movie’s big, the media says that’s what’s happening…
KJ: That’s right…
AS: One thing’s for sure, family movies tend to make a lot of cash.

Hence, Grown Ups…
AS: Hence, Grown Ups… [laughs]

Words – Paul Byrne

Grown Ups descends upon Irish cinemas Aug 25th