STARRING: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Terry Crews, Kevin Nealon
DIRECTOR: Frank Coraci
THE SKINNY: Widower Jim (Sandler) goes on a terrible blind date with divorcee Lauren (Barrymore). They part ways, never expecting to meet again, but end up holidaying with their kids at the same South African resort. The two families hang out, and love most likely blooms.
THE CONSENSUS: Smart gals will probably hate it, but dumb guys — Sandler’s audience — just might dig it.
I have made my peace with Sandler.
I do not care that he is no longer making wacky comedy masterpieces like Billy Madison.
He has grown fat and complacent in his old age, but then again, so have I.
Blended may be another low-brow family comedy along the lines of Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, but I cannot help growing fond of the film and Sandler.
He may be a very wealthy man now, but he has this sentimental affinity for middle-class American families that is really endearing.
The relationships between Jim, Lauren and their respective broods are given quite a bit of time to develop.
Jim has two daughters, and it is nice to see the way Lauren takes them under her wing, showing them how to dress and do their hair.
Lauren has two sons, and it is cute the way Jim shows them how to play sports and more importantly, to exhibit good sportsmanship.
The flick is as banal as can be. I get that.
But at the same time, it makes me feel really cosy.
Blended is not laugh-out-loud funny, but there are some cute gags, like the African band led by Crews that pops up now and again like a goofy Greek chorus.
There are a lot of smart, sophisticated people out there who hate this kind of thing, but frankly, I would rather hang out with Sandler than most of them.
Let me start off by clarifying that I'm no fan of Adam Sandler.
But I like Drew Barrymore and I enjoyed their first rom-com together, The Wedding Singer, where they had such adorable chemistry.
This reunion, a decade after their second collaboration, 50 First Dates, had great potential from the get-go.
Issues such as single parenthood, divorce, bereavement and loneliness are aptly approached in the first act.
Sadly, all is abandoned when everyone screams "We're going to Africa!" in the second act.
From that moment, it was cliche after cliche.
Making it worse is the absence of Barrymore's trademark comic ability.
Yes, we get it that you are older now, but why would you sacrifice your cheeky humour and become Sandler's target of belittling? (That is a signature of Sandler's movies, where women are merely decorative figures to show how much he is in control.)
Bella Thorne, who plays Jim's daughter Hilary, is another victim.
She is called Larry and turned into a tomboy athlete because daddy dearest is a sports junkie.
Even the unnamed African city, where the action is set, is not spared, coming across as a nation of incompetent fools.
Thankfully, the Barrymore-Sandler brood of little ones are cute enough to make you sit through the movie.