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Doug Finelli's GROWNUPS is a really cute comedy about a joke gone wrong. Subtitled LOVE, MARRIAGE, FRIENDSHIP AND WIFE SWAPPING, the story concerns two married couples, Steve and Claire Richards (John Stamos and Tara Westwood) and Eric and Ami Meyer (Daniel London and Meredith Salenger), who have been good friends since childhood. In a well chosen cast, none is better than Meredith Salenger, whom you may remember as the eponymous lead in THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN. We should all age so well. She has only gotten cuter and sweeter as she has put on years.

Eric, a nerdy, anal-retentive lawyer and the only one of the four without a gorgeous body, jokingly proposes on his thirtieth birthday that they should swap partners. Always a jokester, no one takes him seriously. At least not then. When Steve's transfer to sunny California falls through, he decides he needs a change in his life. At age thirty, he's having a mid-life crisis and figures a carefully regulated, one-night fling is just what the doctor should have ordered to put some spice back into his life.

The beauty of the story is in Doug Finelli and Mitch Galane's script. With a thousand ways to go wrong, it sets just the right light-hearted tone with an increasingly touching undercurrent. It's the type of movie that has you smiling from beginning to end. There is an erotic spark always in the air, but little is shown. All four of the leads are so likeable that it is easy to believe their actions and their conflicts, and the chemistry among them is nearly perfect.

In order to convince their respective spouses of the reasonableness of the wife-swapping idea, each husband approaches the task in his own way. Steve, who is in advertising, goes for a flipchart presentation about "The Plan." Eric, who, for all his jokes, is really the shyest, takes a hint-and-wait approach. He brings home a BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE videotape with the hope that its mere presence will do the trick. When the swapping agreement is finally in place, Steve proposes a long set of rules to rival those of Monopoly. How the story evolves and resolves is a constant series of treats for the audience.

GROWNUPS runs a fast 1:30. It is not rated but would be R for brief nudity and sexuality and would be acceptable for teenagers.
Date Added: 04/28/2013 by Rafleman
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