Grown Ups

  • Directors: Dennis Dugan
  • Producers: Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy, Allen Covert, Steve Koren, Barry Bernardi
  • Writers: Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph

Five best friends (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade) and former teammates reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. With their wives (Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph) and kids in town, they spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend together at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier. Picking up where they left off, they discover why growing older doesn’t always mean growing up.

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  • Directors: Frank Coraci
  • Producers: Jack Giarraputo, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe, Adam Sandler
  • Writers: Mark O Keefe, Steve Koren
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, David Hasselhoff

Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is an architect whose desire for promotion leads him to assume many tasks on behalf of his boss John Ammer (David Hasselhoff), with the result that he is often missed by his family. One night after Michael loses his temper at the amount of remote controls in the house, he goes in search of a universal remote control for his appliances. Finding most stores closed, he enters the still open Bed, Bath and Beyond, where in the “Beyond” section he meets Morty (Christopher Walken), an eccentric inventor who gives him a remote control (from the “Way Beyond” section) answering to the description of “universal”, warning Michael that it can never be returned.

To Michael’s amazement, he finds out that the remote is literally universal: it controls the universe and interprets his wishes, even learning to anticipate them. After having some fun with it, he decides to do something serious and fast-forwards to the promotion that he thought to be three months away. When he fast-forwards, a year has gone by instead. He receives his promotion but he and his wife are now in marriage counseling. Apparently, the remote is smart, and self-programming based on past experiences and is automatically programmed to skip or fast-forward through sickness, sexual intercourse, showering, traffic, arguments with Donna, and promotions. In each case, he is alive but on “autopilot” during the interim, so he has no conscious experience of what happened. When he figures out that is the way the remote has been programmed, he tries to destroy it, but it keeps regenerating. Each time he tries to destroy the remote it appears on his person in a different way.

There is then a white flash, and Michael wakes up on a displayed bed in Bed, Bath and Beyond, as he was earlier. Believing his misadventure to have been a dream, he rushes to visit his father, ultimately atoning for his insult and inviting his parents to dine with him every day. He then hastens to reassure Donna, Ben, and Samantha of his affection for them and for his dog Sundance. At the end of the movie, Michael finds the familiar remote on his kitchen counter, bearing a note from Morty stating “Michael, like I said, good guys need a break. I know you’ll do the right thing this time, Love Morty. P.S. Your wife’s rockin’ body still drives me crazy.” This shows that the misadventure was not all a dream, but Morty has rewound Michael’s life back to this point to give him another chance. Learning what he must do as well as what he must avoid doing, Michael throws the remote in the garbage and begins to enjoy life.

Evan Almighty

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Michael Bostick, Neal H Moritz, Tom Shadyac
  • Writers: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Steve Oedekerk, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
  • Actors: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, Molly Shannon, Graham Phillips

Newly elected to Congress, former local television newsman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves Buffalo and shepherds his family to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world without explaining how he will do so. On his first job, he meets Marty (John Michael Higgins), Rita Daniels (Wanda Sykes), and top congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after his arrival, strange things start to happen: animals follow Evan without any apparent reason; he grows a beard that is restored wholly every time he shaves; eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name; ancient tools and wood are sent to his house; and the number “614” appears everywhere he goes.

Evan soon learns that the number indicates a verse in the book of Genesis, in which God instructs Noah to build an ark. Later, God (Morgan Freeman) appears and commands Evan to build a replica of Noah’s Ark in preparation for a deluge. His family initially believes that he is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis; later, his sons suspect that something greater is occurring and assist him in the construction of the ark, although his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) does not. Reappearing, God tells Evan the flood will come at noon on September 22.

On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished ark in front of live news crews and nearby citizens. Minutes pass wherein is no sign of rain, provoking the spectators’ scorn. When a rainstorm is briefly present, Evan takes this as a sign of the coming deluge, but is proved wrong. Joan tells Evan to leave the Ark; Evan, however, remembers Congressman Long’s dam, which he fears may burst. As he thinks on this, the dam does burst, flooding the streets. At this, all spectators and policeman board the ark, which sails down the streets of Washington D.C. on the floodwaters of the lake until it eventually lands touching the front of the Capitol. Evan then tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites the other congressmen present to turn against Long. As investigations on Chuck Long are occurring, Evan and his family later go on a hiking trip, during which God reappears to Evan, telling him that the way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (“ARK”) at a time.

Bruce Almighty

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Tom Shadyac, Jim Carrey, James D Brubaker, Michael Bostick, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
  • Writers: Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Ann Walter, Catherine Bell, Steve Carell, Philip Baker Hall, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Sally Kirkland

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television news reporter for Channel 7 Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York who is unsuccessful at getting a job as an anchorman. After a series of other incidents of ill fortune, he complains to God that He is treating him (Bruce) unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. God then contacts Bruce in human form (Morgan Freeman) and grants him all of His power so as to prove which one is the better handler thereof. Bruce uses his new-found powers for personal gain: he sabotages a colleague named Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) who had cheated him; takes revenge on a street gang who beat him earlier in the film; transforms his car from a Datsun 240Z to a Saleen S7; allows his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, to win the Stanley Cup; places command on a dog to use the toilet for urination; and enhances the breasts and sex drive of his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston).

Bruce endangers his relationship with Grace through his self-centered behavior. God then reminds Bruce that “He” has the task of resolving other people’s problems. God, at this, quotes a line from one of Carrey’s other movies (“Alrighty then”, from Ace Ventura), and tells Bruce that if he wants, Bruce can fix all the world’s problems in a few minutes, knowing that this is untrue. Bruce later receives millions of prayers, all of which, according to God, originate only from a few streets in his own town. Bruce is thus able to realize how much work God must do to keep the cosmos “in line”.

Depressed, Bruce walks onto a highway. Ultimately Bruce realizes that God’s powers are best left for God to handle and asks God to take control of his life. Right after that he is killed by collision with a truck. He is then shown in Heaven, where God asks him “what he really wants”. In answer, Bruce asks that Grace find a man who may make her truly happy and see her through God’s eyes. At this, Bruce is revived by paramedics. Later, Bruce has returned to his earlier field of reporting and is content with it; donates blood for a transfusion; and becomes engaged to marry Grace. The ending scene features a slow close-up of the homeless man, whose image morphs slightly and he is revealed to be God. This echoes a line of Joan Osborne’s song, One of Us, which Bruce is shown singing after his acquisition of the divine power.