Adam Sandler deserves some sort of award for this film. Seriously – what sort of restraint did he have to maintain in order to make a movie that takes place in Africa, and not have a single animal urinating or defecating for laughs. Seriously, it’s amazing. Yes, we have rhinos humping and a giraffe sticking its tongue down a human’s throat, but no animal poop jokes, and that’s gotta count for something.
Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Drew Barrymore) couldn’t be less suited to each other, yet here they are, on a blind date together at Hooters. After a disastrous night where Jim chugs Lauren’s beer and pays more attention to the log competition on TV than the woman in front of him, neither expect to see the other again. Contrived coincidences are Hollywood’s specialty though and bing bang boom, the two end up booking a blended family getaway in Africa together without realizing it. Determined to stick it out, at least so their respective children can have a fun vacation, the two realize that they might have more in common than they thought.
There is absolutely nothing in this movie that will come as a surprise to you. The plot is pure cardboard cutout, standard Hollywood romantic comedy fare. Barrymore is her usual likeable self. Adam Sandler is the same “annoying but slightly likeable if you like that sort of thing man-child who refuses to mature” like always. Despite the aforementioned lack of animal dung, there is more than enough rude humor to go around as is to be expected from a Happy Madison production. The biggest plot twist came when the theater was evacuated due to a fire alarm halfway through, but I think that was exclusive to my viewing experience.
I’m not quite sure what audience this is aimed for. With child-like antics and humor with the intelligence level of tweens, it gives the illusion of being a family friendly affair but with far too much not so subtle “adult situations” to really be so. This is going to be one of those movie young teen boys like because it’s only PG-13 but “snicker,” it’s got sex stuff in it!
Other than not really having an appropriate audience to play to, Blended‘s biggest crime is being rather bland. Instead of being put off by gross out humor and Adam Sandler antics, I was mostly bored with unoriginal plot points and jokes that fall flat. Not much can really be categorized as terribly offensive, though the incessantly recurring joke about how Jim’s daughters look too much like boys is grating and feels disrespectful.
There are some pretty funny parts scattered throughout, though almost exclusively delivered by the supporting cast. Whether it’s the consistently shirtless singing Terry Crews, inappropriate table antics of Susan Yeagley and Kevin Nealong, or the good natured attempt at acting by Shaq, there are laughs to be had. Just not from the main cast who seem content to walk through the story while people around them act funnier and more interesting than they are. Even when we find out some of the more touching details about the characters’ lives and are given requisite “aww,” moments there’s not much there to care about.
Granted, this is certainly not Adam Sandler’s worst movie, and it is infinitely more restrained than, say, Grown Ups 2, but unless you’re a diehard fan, there’s really nothing to see here. Move along, move along.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film because you couldn’t pay her to watch another Adam Sandler movie.
My rating: Two out of five hats
Blended treks into 3,555 theaters May 23