HIGHLAND, Ind. — Forty-seven-year-old street sweeper Larry Digby on Tuesday admitted he harbors considerable resentment toward the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its disregard of the film “Grown Ups 2” at the 86th Academy Awards held earlier this year in Los Angeles.
“I just don’t get it, especially when I see the other films that were nominated,” fumed Digby. “I don’t see anyone laughing as hard at ’12 Years a Slave’ as I did at ‘Grown Ups 2,’ which easily could have been titled, ‘100 Minutes of Knee Slappers.’ This is just more Academy snobbery if you ask me.”
The film, which stars such notables as Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Colin Quinn, did not receive a single Oscar® nomination, reflecting a consensus among critics who widely panned the film as devoid of plot, insight, artistic integrity, originality, and entertainment value. Popular film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 7 percent approval rating for the film, placing it in historic company among some of the industry’s most lambasted motion pictures, including previous Sandler projects such as the original “Grown Ups” (10 percent), “Jack and Jill” (3 percent), and the 2011 Sandler-produced flop “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star,” which received a rare 0 percent en route to earning less than $2.5 million in domestic box office receipts.
Despite a nearly universal negative response to the film, Digby remains steadfast in his conviction that Academy members simply failed to appreciate the comic timing of a deer urinating in a couple’s bed or the film’s delicate handling of marital discord as expressed through several of its characters, including Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) and his wife, Sally (Maria Bello).
“No one portrays marital strife more accurately than Adam Sandler,” says Digby, noting that many of Sandler’s films find his character in some type of connubial disconnect with the female lead, only to tidily, happily and often zanily resolve such conflicts by the end of the film. “Some might denounce (Sandler’s) depictions of this spousal friction as artless, facile and ultimately insulting, but I just call it great filmmaking!”
In spite of Digby’s strong sentiments, many of the lifelong bachelor’s closest friends and colleagues concur with the critical response to the film, of which reviewer Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald wrote, “Nobody escapes untainted by the foul stench of Grown Ups 2.”
“Just knowing that ‘Grown Ups 2’ was made makes me never want to see another movie for the rest of my life,” sighed Digby’s coworker and childhood friend Art Finnegan. “To think about that movie and then realize it did gangbusters at the box office, it just makes me depressed, y’know?”
But Digby refuses to let such harsh reactions cloud his enthusiasm for the next Sandler vehicle, which history suggests will be just as uninspired, indolent and sophomoric as the nearly 50 films that have thus far dominated the resume of one of Hollywood’s most puzzling and troubling success stories.
“I can already see the jokes coming and I’m still going to laugh,” admits Digby. “It’s Adam Sandler, man. How can you not?”