The marketing department at the Fox Studios has a lot of balls to advertise Grandma's Boy as being a comedy, or even a movie. Comedies feature funny situations that build to a payoff that generates humor and laughter. Movies feature a storyline, characters, and relationships. Grandma's Boy features none of that, and I fear that was the intention of the filmmakers. To call this a movie would be an insult to filmmaking in general. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, not even to be funny, as the film does not allow itself to have any jokes. It can't even afford to have any sort of resemblance of a plot or conflict. It is just a series of loosely related scenes spliced together to form a worthless excuse for a stoner movie that makes Cheech and Chong at their worst seem like the very peak of sophisticated comedy.
The supposed plot is centered around Alex (Allen Covert), a 35-year old pot-addicted video game tester who gets thrown out of his apartment by his landlord (Rob Schneider in a pointlessly unfunny cameo) because Alex's roommate has been spending the rent money on hookers the past six months. This naturally puts him in a tight spot, especially since he's being faced with a massive deadline to debug a highly anticipated game that was designed by the freakish video game design prodigy, J.P. (Joel Moore) - a whiz kid who dresses like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, thinks he's half-cyborg, and suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. Seeing no other option, Alex decides to move in with his grandmother Lily (Doris Roberts from TV's Everybody Loves Raymond), and her two elderly roommates - the sex-obsessed Grace (Shirley Jones) and the pill-popping Bea (Shirley Knight).
The rest of the movie concerns a series of random scenes where Alex and his friends get stoned while playing video games, get stoned while making love, and yes, getting stoned while in public. You could probably count the number of scenes where somebody is not lighting up on one hand. There is a female love interest for Alex in the form of Samantha (Linda Cardellini) who is managing the production of the video game, but she too has zero personality whatsoever and (you guessed it) spends a good part of the later half of the movie stoned. The minutes slowly tick by as we realize that this is all the movie has to offer us. No jokes, no characters, just one joint after another. The movie does try to create some form of conflict when the evil J.P. tries to steal a video game design of Alex's, but this is resolved in about 10 minutes, and then they go back to getting stoned. You get the idea.
My question is why would anyone want to make this movie? I am especially puzzled by the fact that the film's star, Allen Covert, co-wrote the screenplay. Did he actually think this would be a good vehicle for him as he was writing this stuff? Did he actually think that this movie could launch him into a film career, as this is his first lead role in a movie? Why would you write a starring vehicle for yourself where you do absolutely nothing but play video games and get stoned in scene after scene? Is this the kind of movie you would want to be remembered for? He had a big chance here and he absolutely squanders it by not only making his own character about as interesting as the dust building under your refrigerator, but making everybody else equally so. He doesn't even let himself be funny, giving his character no jokes or anything even remotely humorous to do. The film constantly teases us, leading us to think it's building up to a joke, only to have it cut to the next scene or to give us a payoff that lands with the deafening thud similar to that of an elephant hitting the pavement after being pushed off a skyscraper.
More than once while watching this film, I was reminded of The 40-Year Old Virgin. Both films dealt with socially introverted people who surround themselves in a world of video games, pop culture, movies, and sex fantasies, only to be brought out of their shells by the love of a woman. Both were also co-written by the film's star to act as a vehicle. But whereas Virgin was a fitting showcase for Carell's talents and treated his character with dignity and respect, Grandma's Boy looks at the character of Alex, and indeed everyone who walks into the story, with such scorn and hatred that you almost wonder why anyone would think we'd want to watch a movie about them if the screenplay itself doesn't even respect its own characters. If this movie is to be believed, the entire video game industry, and indeed everyone who even plays video games, is a pathetic loser who sleeps in a race car bed, sucks his thumb, jacks off to Barbie dolls in public, and lives with their parents. Every single character in Alex's world is a "nerd" stereotype so extreme that they don't even seem human anymore. Perhaps that's because this movie doesn't understand its own world. The characters in this movie are not "geeks" or "nerds". They are freaks of nature seen through the eyes of a reprehensible and hateful screenplay that wants to mock and ridicule instead of actually finding anything funny for its characters to do. A smart movie would find humor in the situations and the characters. This movie doesn't even bother to be funny, and just expects us to laugh at the fact that everyone who works at the video game company still live with their parents and are virgins. You get the feeling that the filmmakers behind Grandma's Boy were the ones dishing out the wedgies back in high school.
You know, looking back on this review, I've realized that I've probably spent more thought just possibly trying to explain such a banal and empty excuse for a comedy than the makers of this movie probably spent making it. This movie isn't just bad, it's practically non-existent. Each pointless scene virtually fades the second it hits the screen, and you almost begin to feel like you should be checking if the film projector is actually working, as the movie is just one big blank. It possesses no ideas, no thoughts, nor a single memorable or even noteworthy moment. It is the cinematic comparison of staring at a brick wall. And that's probably an insult to brick walls everywhere. If this movie hasn't completely faded from my mind by December, it's already a strong candidate for my Worst Films of the Year list.
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