Nobody makes critically panned yet commercially successful movies like Adam Sandler. Over the years, Sandler has written and starred in dozens of movies that were huge box-office successes but were maligned by critics. In other words – Sandler’s shtick sells; a point perhaps best proven by the Grown Ups movies. Both Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 tripled their budgets at the box-office despite receiving sub-12% ratings on rotten tomatoes. But is there a Grown Ups 3? It’s widely assumed that Grown Ups 3 would be greenlit if Sandler and company were interested in returning for another sequel. But what would the movie be about? Well, one writer took matters into his own hands and made a spec script that was truly unexpected. Follow along as we break down the viral Grown Ups 3 script and whether or not it will ever get produced!

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Movie Grown Ups 3

What is Grown Ups?

Grown Ups is a movie franchise that was created by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf. The first two Grown Ups films were written by Sandler and Wolf, and directed by Dennis Dugan.

Here’s the cast of Grown Ups characters:

  • Adam Sandler (Lenny Feder) – Lenny is a Hollywood agent who is the de facto leader of the group.
  • Kevin James (Eric Lamonsoff)  – Eric is a blue-collar worker and family friend of Lenny.
  • Chris Rock (Kurt McKenzie) – Kurt is a stay-at-home dad/cableman.
  • David Spade (Marcus Higgins) – Marcus is a serial philanderer.
  • Rob Schneider (Rob Hilliard) – Rob is a misanthrope who fails at marriage.
  • Salma Hayek (Roxanne Chase-Feder) – Roxanne is a fashion designer and Lenny’s wife.

Let’s go behind the scenes of the first Grown Ups with all the Grown Ups characters to see the cast in action.

Behind the Scenes With a Potential Grown Ups 3 Cast

It’s clear from seeing Sandler and company joke with each other that they’re a close-knit group. At its core, the Grown Ups franchise is about friendship. But that theme can only go so far without any subversion – and that’s where writer Tom Scharpling comes in. 

Scharpling is a multi-talented comedian who has worked as an actor on shows like Steven Universe and as a writer on shows like Monk and What We Do in the Shadows. In 2019, Scharpling decided to write a spec script
for Grown Ups 3. In an interview with Vulture, Scharpling said:

Tom Sharpling - Headshot Template - StudioBinder

“It was an idea I had years ago, and it was one of those ideas that you joke around with a couple friends and it’s like, “Oh, wouldn’t it be funny if that existed? Can you imagine?” But then you never get off the runway with it, and it just ends up being a joke and it’s like, “Someday I’m going to do that.” And then there was a day where I was like, “You know what? I’m actually gonna do that. I don’t know if it’s going to be ten pages long, I don’t know if it’s going to be 130 pages long. I just need to just say I did this and I know the idea works.” I had thought through so much of it, so I just wrote it in three days. I started off Friday. It was finished on a Sunday night and showed it to people on Monday morning. You know what? That’s two days. I did it Friday night to Sunday.”

Someway somehow, Scharpling’s script went viral, making rounds all over Twitter. Vice and The Big Short director Adam McKay shared the link to the script and said “This movie would be on my top five list for the year. I’m not kidding.” So what makes the Grown Ups 3 movie script so good? Well, let’s take a look.

Grown Ups 3 Cast and Inception

Grown Ups 3 Script

We imported Scharpling’s Grown Ups 3 script into StudioBinder’s screenwriting software to take a closer look at the story’s crazy events. You can read Scharpling’s entire Grown Ups 3 script below:

I think the main reason why the Grown Ups 3 script went viral is because it’s completely unlike the films that preceded it. It’s a slasher-thriller, not a feel-good comedy. It’s also really meta – Sandler, James, Rock, Spade, and Schneider are all featured as themselves, not their Grown Ups characters from the first two movies (except for the first scene). And hang with me here, the story has some thematic weight with the masked villain. The antagonist is something we all fear: the impending demise of personal and professional dreams. Let’s go back to the script to review the story’s thematic conflict with this point in mind.

Okay, the Grown Ups 3 ending may not be as profound as say the ending of The Godfather: Part II but at least it has some dramatic weight. Perhaps that’s what the Grown Ups franchise needs going forward into its third installment.

Grown Ups 3 Release Date

Will there be a Grown Ups 3?

Are they making a Grown Ups 3? It’s hard to say whether or not Grown Ups 3 will ever get released – but if it does, it likely won’t use Scharpling’s script. Instead, Grown Ups 3 would probably be written by Sandler and Fred Wolf. But who knows? Maybe we do live in a world strange enough where we might one day see a Grown Ups movie that turns into a slasher.

In 2017, Salma Hayek said that she heard rumblings about Grown Ups 3 but there was no definitive plan for its production. In 2020, co-star Nick Swardson said this when asked what he’s heard about the Grown Ups 3 release date:

Nick Swardson on Grown Up 3

“He [Adam Sandler] had talked about it and then there was another script out there that wasn’t approved. There was another one that just went viral that somebody wrote that I thought was a hoax but I guess it’s real… and I guess the script is really good.”

Swardson also said that he’d sign up immediately for Grown Ups 3 if it was approved. So is there going to be a Grown Ups 3? As of now, it seems that if Sandler was interested in making Grown Ups 3, and the rest of the cast agreed to return, the film could enter pre-production. But alas, we’ll have to wait and see.


Justin Roiland’s Comedic Style

Justin Roiland’s comedic writing style is similar to Sandler’s but slightly more contemplative and existential. In this next article, we break down Roiland’s signature comedic style by looking at examples from Rick and Morty and more. By the end, you’ll be able to recognize a Roiland work from a mile away.

Up Next: Why Roiland’s Comedy Matters →
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