ADAM SANDLER DAREW BARRYMORE
The new crowd pleaser from Adam Sandler opens in a toilet, which is a metaphor for exactly where the film intends to stay for the remainder of the show, regardless of their location. After being mauled by critics and even having his own fan base turn on him (finally!), Sandler returns to something he knows still works at the box office: romantic comedy and the Barrymore/Sandler combination. Blended is the third film the comedic duo have shot together (The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates the previous). The second scene of the film has Barrymore’s character spitting up food all over herself and Sandler, and so the plot continues…
After one blind date at Hooters, Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore) can’t stop talking about how bad it was and how they never want to see each other again, but of course they can’t stop running into each other in the tiny town of Atlanta, Georgia. So, through wild circumstances they both decide to take a trip to South Africa for spring break and now they are living together and vacationing together. Lauren has two boys in need of a father while Jim has three girls in need of a mother, and with all the romance in Africa the two begin to slowly fall in love while their children run wild.
Predictability is always the worst element in a Sandler film; you know in the first 10 minutes how it’s going to end. If you don’t find the steps to get to that predictable ending funny and entertaining, then you just waste 2 more hours of your life on a man that America used to find funny, but is finally considered obnoxious. Sandler continues with the obvious outside funding for his films; Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart (his biggest fan) and Hooters are overly displayed in the film. The jokes are stale and the acting is cue card read, but there is one moment I identified with from a character: when Lauren screams to the top of her lungs at the disaster the trip appears to be while her youngest son slides down a stripper pole; at that moment, Lauren and I felt the same.
On the outside, Blended is about two different families coming together to make one big family. On the inside, however, Blended is about two parents who don’t understand discipline, who have spoiled, bratty kids and need to be focusing on raising their kids instead of finding a partner or taking trips to Africa. What should be a romantic comedy for families is more like a horror movie for single people watching. The film’s few funny moments are credited to Alyvia Alyn Lind, who plays Jim’s youngest daughter and speaks like a demon child when she doesn’t get her way. Bridesmaids’ Wendi McLendon-Covey adds some adult humor, but it’s Jessica Lowe and her “shimmy” that steals the show (not that the bar was set very high).
Final Thought – Predictability, poor writing, worse acting and lots of bad parenting blended together for a film that should come with a barf bag.
By: Dustin Chase