The fine line separating comedy from tragedy crosses over to the latter at the start of this movie about five childhood buddies (Kevin James, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, David Spade) who reunite upon the death of their old basketball coach (Blake Clark). That border is crossed again at the funeral never to return in this attempted laughfest that would leave even the late John Wooden searching for positives. The screenplay by Sandler (THE WATERBOY) and Fred Wolf is episodic and moves from either one gag to another or a manufactured scene where the characters contemplate the current state of their lives a la THE BIG CHILL (1983). Some of the comic bits are amusing at best but most of them just lie there like the proverbial beached whale. Compounding the deficiency is the recurrence of the weakest jokes in the movie being repeated like Sandlerís (THE WEDDING SINGER) lame attempt at passing off his young Asian housekeeper (Di Quon) as a foreign exchange student (Huh?). Itís not that the humor is lowbrow and sophomoric thatís the downfall of this film. Itís simply that it isnít terribly funny. There was also never established the sort of relationship between the hoops coach and his charges that would make them want to come from all parts of the country for his ďsend-offĒ instead of just sending flowers. The water park sequence is rather pointless except for an overly long ďpiddleĒ joke that everyone who saw the trailer knows is coming. Ditto for the ďclimacticĒ basketball rematch which looks as though itís being played by guys whoíve never played the game in their lives. I donít mean to sound off as if I think this movie is all bad but it definitely isnít all good and itís the sort of work youíll have forgotten about within 24 hours. CRITICíS GRADE: C
CRITICíS NOTE: The primary reason I decided not to review THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE is because I failed to see last fallís NEW MOON (2009) and didnít want to see a movie out of its series order. Putting that aside, Iím probably not the right person to do it anyway because (a) Iím not a teenage girl (b) I'm not the mother of a teenage girl and (c) itís of no consequence to me whether an 18-year-old girl ďgives it upĒ for a vampire or a werewolf. I mean, arenít there any available humans in her town?