Grown Ups - Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider
Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock), Marcus Higgins (David Spade), Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James), Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) and Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) © Columbia Pictures

In Grown Ups Adam Sandler’s character’s life mirrors his own … well, sort of. He portrays Lenny Feder, a successful Hollywood agent, with two privileged and spoiled children.

When his beloved basketball coach dies he and four of his childhood friends, played by Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, return to their home town, with their families, to spend the summer at a lake house where they celebrated their championship when they were kids.

When Sandler came up with the idea of doing a movie about a man who feels he and his family have lost their perspective of what’s important in life, he gathered his real friends together and went to Massachusetts to make a movie about it.

As a father was this movie a way to exorcise fear you might have about raising elitist Beverly Hills children that will end up terribly?

Grown Ups - Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler, Alexys Sandler, Kevin James, Jake Goldberg and Cameron Boyce
Rob (Rob Schneider), Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) carrying his daughter Becky (Alexys), Eric (Kevin James), Feder boys Greg (Jake Goldberg) and Keithie (Cameron Boyce) carrying the ice chest to the hayride © Columbia Pictures

The idea of my kids being spoiled, I go to sleep thinking about it and I wake up thinking about it. I’m trying to do the right thing. With the amount of money I have it’s difficult raising children the way that I was raised, but I took away the west and north wing of the house from those guys! So they’re not allowed in there.

As one of the writers of this, did you write it with all these actors in mind?

Yes, Fred Wolf and I wrote the movie and the whole idea was putting together old friends and they get to hangout for a weekend. And all these guys are my old friends and I’m glad that they said yes to it.

You know all these guys so well and wrote for them, but did anyone do anything that surprised you while you were shooting?

There was a lot of adlibbing and a lot of jokes that these guys brought. I wasn’t shocked by anybody but everyone who watches the movie, friends of ours, they go, ‘Wow, [David] Spade.’ They love Spade. I think they’re used to all of us doing good work and aren’t used to David doing good! (he laughs) ‘Wow, David is doing okay.’

Dennis (Dugan, the director of the movie) did a lot of work and brought us in to the right place, focused us. Dennis lived on the other side of the lake and every morning he would row to work.

Is there a consensus among the cast of who’s the funniest?

Grown Ups - Adam Sandler and David Spade
Lenny (Adam Sandler) and Marcus (David Spade) © Columbia Pictures

Everyone has their own thing. I’ll tell you that Spade is incredibly funny. He drops the most destruction bombs on you. He’s quick as hell. Everybody has their moments.

KJ (Kevin James) is incredibly funny and has different ways of being funny in conversation. When KJ texts me I laugh like a baboon for five minutes alone and I don’t write that LOL because I’m a comedian and I think that other comedians will go, ‘Are you f-king kidding me? You wrote LOL?’

So I just write back, ‘Good one!’ (Chris) Rock is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen in my life with just summing up something and just having a different slant on it, where you’re just like, ‘That is amazingly accurate and I can’t believe that I’ve never said that out loud or never even thought that,’ but he makes you think.

For the record, (Rob) Schneider is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s ridiculously fast and funny.

This film is about a reunion among friends. If you were having a reunion, where would you want it to be?

Grown Ups - Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James
Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler), Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) and Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) © Columbia Pictures

I would like to do this sort of reunion if I was having one, hanging out at a house and do fun stuff on a lake. That’s a good place for it. In real life it’s not much of a reunion. We see each other enough.

It’s not like this gang hasn’t seen each other in thirty years. We see each other a lot and in fact I see my friends from growing up a lot. There are no reunions in my life. I see everybody too much.

Do you feel like a grown up and when did that feeling dawn on you?

Yeah. When you’re around the kids you feel like you act the most grown,up just because you’re supposed to lead. I say things like every other day that reminds me of my own parents. One thing that I do know about being a parent is that you understand why your father was in a bad mood a lot.

Can you talk about some of your favorite things as kid that have carried into your adult life?

Grown Ups - Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler
Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock), Marcus Higgins (David Spade), Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James), Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) and Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) © Columbia Pictures

Last night I couldn’t sleep. It was two o’clock in the morning and I was thinking, ‘What can I do?’ I was watching TV. I thought, ‘Let me do something else because I’m not going to fall asleep for a while.

So, what are my hobbies?’ I couldn’t come up with anything.  I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll read a book. Where do I keep the books? I got nothing to do but watch TV.’

Can you talk about what you’re doing on your next film, Jack and Jill?

In Jack and Jill I play me and I play my twin sister. The man version of me is doing okay. He’s got a family out in L.A., and the twin sister version of me is in the Bronx and comes out to L.A. for Thanksgiving and then refuses to leave and is spoiling the man version of my family life a little bit.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.