Whenever he chars a big fattie, Judge Brett Cullum gets an insane craving for prune juice and corned beef hash.
"My Grandma drank all my pot."—Alex
Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer) produced this goofy little comedy under his Happy Madison production logo. If you're a Sandler fan, you'll recognize most of the cast as regulars from epics such as The Water Boy, 50 First Dates, Anger Management, and Little Nicky. You'll even catch notable cameos by people like Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo), Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live), and David Spade (Joe Dirt). But what you came here for is a stoner comedy about an aged gamer living with three old ladies. It's Cheech and Chong meets The Golden Girls. So spark up an big fat one, wash it down with some prune juice, and see if it makes you laugh.
Facts of the Case
Alex (Allen Covert, The Longest Yard) is a 35-year-old video game tester with a big dream—he wants to create the ultimate console experience by casting players as a demon that attacks a meth lab. He's almost derailed when his Thai-massage-addicted roommate spends all the rent money for six months on Oriental rub down services. Enter a knight in silver hair, his grandmother (Doris Roberts,Everybody Loves Raymond), to save the day. She lets Alex crash with her and her two roommates (Shirley Jones, The Partridge Family and Shirley Knight, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure) in a room recently occupied by their friend who has passed on. To complicate things further, Alex is under the gun to help finish a new video game designed by his company's most successful designer. The project manager, Samantha (Linda Cardellini, Brokeback Mountain), is as intense as she is hot. Now if he can survive living with The Golden Girls, and manage to help launch a successful game franchise on time, he just might make it.
Grandma's Boy is a mess; a series of skits looking for a plot. There is so much going on that the story takes a back seat to the massively pointless antics revolving around old women, the video game industry, and getting high. The three elderly women characters are so shamelessly cribbed from The Golden Girls that someone should sue. Doris Roberts is the older, wise, Bea Arthur role, Shirley Jones is the sexpot based on Rue McClanahan, and Shirley Knight could be an over medicated Betty White. The final insult? The dead roommate is called Sophie, one letter off from Sophia from the television show. Someone was damn lazy here. One of the commentary tracks reveals that many of the scenes were improvised—and boy can you tell.
Right before it came out, the studio wisely hid the movie without press screenings and snuck it in to theatres with a low key advertising campaign. Still, film reviewers soon began flinging mud at it upon its release. Grandma's Boy was compared favorably with Freddy Got Fingered, but blasted by critics when held up against anything else. It was savaged with terms like "low," "disgusting," and "lazy." It was labeled as an unfunny Adam Sandler movie without the goofy charm of the familiar lead, and compared to a lesser Saturday Night Live skit stretched in to ninety minutes of sheer torture. Messy plot, dazed and confused actors, and unfunny antics all promised to make Grandma's Boy a serious contender for the 2006 Razzie's. The movie was slapped with a well-earned R-rating (due to gratuitous nudity and drug usage), so it missed it's primary demographic of twelve-year-old, video-game-obsessed boys.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
As messy as the film is, the DVD is a stunning package packed with a credible transfer and tons of extras. The visual transfer is a widescreen, artifact-free, anamorphic treatment with hyper colors. The main sound mix is a five channel surround which is punishingly dynamic. Dialogue is clear, and music pops into all five speakers to create a lively room presence. There is a hilarious cast commentary as well as a more dry director track which comments mainly on the process. There are great featurettes including looks at the casting process, working with the monkey, the filming of the infamous masturbation scene, and making a music video. Deleted scenes and outtakes are separated in to both montages and uncut versions which you can select in various forms labeled "deleted," "smoked," and "unsmoked." You can't argue the DVD offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Some people are going to enjoy this flick, and I have to admit I did giggle with glee at certain jokes. Despite all the shortcomings of the plot, there are some bona fide, laugh-out-loud moments in Grandma's Boy. You'll enjoy it the most if you like weed and video games, but there are certain joys to be found in watching these likable character actors riffing off the script. Even though you get the sense that the older actresses were wasted in a simple gross out comedy, seeing Shirley Jones seduce a twenty year old is comedic gold. Doris Roberts also has some zingers. Allen Covert looks remarkably like Mel Gibson, and comes off well in a comedy that goes nowhere fast. Peter Dante makes the most of his pot dealing role. Linda Cardellini proves with a hysterical karaoke performance that she is willing to go to extreme places for a comedic role.
It's not the best movie to come out of Happy Madison Productions, and Grandma's Boy won't be remembered for much. It's a lazy mess of a comedy that seems to have no direction or plot. Still, it's worth a few laughs and the actors seem to be having a great time despite everything going against it. The DVD is amazingly well done, and it's a much more satisfying trip at home than in the theatres. In private nobody will judge you for laughing at Shirley Jones being a senior nympho, a Kung Fu fighting monkey, and a man that speaks like a robot when he gets nervous. I'd say if you're curious it's worth a rental.
Guilty of being a completely unoriginal marriage of Dude, Where's My Car and The Golden Girls. You'll laugh, but you won't respect yourself in the morning.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Director Nicholaus Goosen
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