A closer look at the best / only joke in the Grown Ups 2 trailer

Monday April 22nd 2013

The first thirty seconds of a comedy trailer are absolutely crucial. If a killer gag doesn’t grab the audience within that first half-minute, many viewers are liable to switch off, either intellectually or — in the age of the skippable YouTube pre-roll — literally. It’s presumably for this reason that the new trailer for Grown Ups 2 places its A-material right up front, a mere seven seconds into its runtime.

An unusually saggy-looking David Spade kicks off the ‘bit’, by asking a table filled with family and friends either ‘remember when we used to come here enough to get wasted?’ or ‘remember when we used to come here and after we got wasted?’ — neither of which particularly makes sense.

‘What’s wasted?’ asks a puzzled (and presumably rather sheltered) nine-year-old, who could’ve worked out the definition from context if she’d bothered to think it through and not just immediately asked for clarification. The lazy bastard.

Adam Sandler, rather than simply explain the term to the children in a calm and unsensational manner, tells them that ‘wasted’ means ‘when you have a hankering for ice cream’. It’s a stretch — why would hanging out at a bar cause David Spade to have a hankering for ice cream? — but the kids seem to buy it.

‘I want to get wasted!’ shouts one of the youngsters, clearly misunderstanding Sandler’s explanation entirely. If the definition of ‘wasted’ is ‘to have a hankering for ice cream’, then wanting to get wasted would constitute wanting to have a hankering for ice cream, which is patently tautological. Nonetheless, the other kids concur, proclaiming that they too ‘want to get wasted’.

Dragging the joke even further into the depths of incomprehensibility, a little girl in a blue hat then declares that she wants ‘to get chocolate wasted’, which doesn’t really mean anything at all. Still, at least Sandler sees the funny side…

Now — Adam Sandler has spent many years establishing himself as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of the false laugh (it’s why them pay him the big bucks) but the chuckle he proffers at the 0:17 mark of the Grown Ups 2 trailer, in response to the phrase ‘chocolate wasted’, might just be career-best material. It seems not to emanate from either his chest or throat, but instead from some kind of nasal laugh reserve just behind the eyes — an emergency chortle receptacle for those occasions when even the bassy resonance of the fake belly laugh won’t do.

Here it is in isolation, to give you some sense of how potent it really is:

And here it is again:

I’m sold.