Grown Ups Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG4 codec. Being shot with HD cameras the image is clean, tidy and very robust. Detail is very good with skin, clothing weaves, wood grain, leaves and other edges being very well defined. Perhaps not as sharp as the very best out there, but certainly no slouch either. Colours are bold and strong and show no hint of wash or bleed. The primaries shine off the screen, and fare particularly well even in the bright outdoor sunshine of the water park, where the water is a very satisfying blue and deep enough to swim in. The sky too shows no gradation problems.
Contrast is set very well with no obvious clipping, blooming or loss of detail. Pointing, again, at the water park sequence, this shows excellent definition, even in this most challenging environment. Brightness combines to give a solid feel to the picture, blacks, though not really used, are predominantly ok, but did grey somewhat in the firework scene at the end.
Digitally there were no compression problems, no posterization or banding, nor was there any edge enhancement. In all, this is a fine picture, just shy of reference.
Of the three DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks listed I opted for the English. A somewhat front heavy mix with the surrounds only really being employed for a little ambience and to fill out the score. Front separation is nice and wide with reasonable stereo effects. The surrounds pipe up during the basket ball scenes and during the water park sequence to add a little ambience and immersion, but it is rather short lived. However, the score (and the many, many songs) does pick up nicely and the surrounds fill up the rear to add a very nice cohesive soundscape. Dialogue is natural sounding and rooted to the front and never in any danger from being drowned out. Bass is very limited, but then this isn’t an action blockbuster, so I wasn’t expecting much, used mainly to fill out the score. A very functional track that gets its information across without any bells or whistles.
- Audio Commentary
Director Dennis Dugan flies solo for this chat track in a somewhat whimsical but witty, funny but frivolous talk. With lines like, “oh there’s my cameo, and there’s my credit, that’s it, the rest of the film isn’t worth it” you know you are in for a rather comedic chat. It is very much an anecdotal talk about the making of the feature with a few technical aspects thrown it, becoming a surprisingly easy listen, despite the occasional lapse, which Dugan, himself, draws attention too. Fun and informative this is never a chore.
- Outtakes and Deleted Scenes – HD, 10.15
A total of ten scenes that can be watched individually or all together with a play all function. Ranging from a few seconds to a couple of minutes these are short scenes excised for pacing that don’t add anything new to the mix, but equally could have been included as they fit quite nicely. Nothing of particular note.
- Laughter is Contagious – HD, 04.08
A short feature highlighting the fun had by all during the filming – since this was an HD video recording there is plenty of adlibbing around the script and the best takes were chosen.
- Gag Reel – HD, 03.49
Fluffed lines, swearing, laughing and other mistakes in a short montage – I’m sure there was far more than just this though.
- Riff o rama – HD, 04.37
Dugan introduced the scene; the five principles in their first sit down at the lake-house just go for broke trying to outdo each other adlibbing around the script, great stuff!
- Hands on Director: Dennis Dugan – HD, 04.38
The closest to a serious making of feature this, show the director goofing around on set, with the usual back slapping, though in this case it’s all intentionally funny. Dugan run a very relaxed shoot, allowing a lot of flexibility to the performances and it shows in the finished product – it’s a good thing.
- The Lost Tapes of Norm MacDonald – HD, 06.49
MacDonald introduces himself as a recurring character that was part of the script and an ongoing joke that was eventually removed entirely from the film. Shame, his scenes looked pretty good.
- The Cast of Grown Ups – HD, 07.08
Very brief introduction to the eighteen or so principle actors and actresses that make up the cast. All are comedians or comedic actors, and all have a ball in making the film, no egos here, just funny people trying to make a funny film.
- Busey and the Monkey – HD, 03.24
Another ongoing joke that was excised from the final print, involving Gary Busey, supposedly one of Lenny’s clients, constantly on the phone complaining about a monkey he is training – totally mad and you can imagine this actually happening, especially knowing how mad Busey really is in real life!
For Eat Pray Love, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Smurfs in 3D (though not a 3D trailer) and Social Network.
- Movie IQ and BDLive
Nothing of interest within.
Not a bad selection of extra material, it's all filmed with tongue in cheek and there is an overriding sense of fun on the set, but what would you expect with so many comedians together. Everything is in HD, which is great, though there is a surprising amount of repetitive editing for what is a relatively short amount of material. Well worth a look though.
Grown Ups was apparently thought up one night by Adam Sandler and was a five minute pitch to director Dennis Dugan. The premise is extremely simply, get five comedians in a lodge at tell a story about how they have aged – the end result sees these five characters reunited after the death of their high-school coach, recapturing their youthful spirit that their grown up lives seems to have quashed. With excellent comedic performances from everyone involved the tale ends up being a bittersweet, but funny, yarn about coming to terms with age and learning to live. I loved the sentiment displayed.
As a Blu-ray package Sony have put together a pretty good set, the picture and sound are both excellent and the extras make up a watchable, if short, and funny accompaniment. It’s not a fabulous film, but it is an enjoyable one.
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