It's been a summer of movies that are critical bombs, but at least the reviewers are having fun trashing them: See Lindy West's tour de force takedown of Sex and the City 2 in the Stranger and A.O. Scott's impressive drubbing of MacGruber in the New York Times . The latest terrible movie with interesting reviews is Adam Sandler's Grown Ups , which the Times ' Stephen Holden calls Sandler's "sloppy entry into this year’s man-child-comedy sweepstakes." The awfulness of the movie-which is about five infantile idiots/childhood friends who reconvene, after 30 years apart, at the funeral of their old basketball coach-has inspired the New York Post 's Kyle Smith to spin an intriguing theory about Adam Sandler's psyche and his fear of mature success:
Sandler (whose much sharper early comedies were unjustly maligned by critics) can be an interesting writer and actor, but whenever he gets spooked by the reception of grown-up work like last year's Funny People , he becomes Hollywood's real-life Billy Madison-skulking off to the least challenging path.
Sandler is an incredibly successful-and wealthy-comedian at this point in his career. There is no obvious reason why he should be making "the work of people who sat around a table for an hour or so tossing around hackneyed comic notions, then decided to slap them onto the screen and hope for the best," as Holden calls it. He has the ability to make much better movies if he wants to, but he can't handle the high expectations. Which is why Smith's theory about Sandler seems to have the ring of truth to it: Sandler, though outwardly successful, is an Omega Male at heart .