Blended

“This is the most spontaneous and unpredictable film of the year!” – said no one ever. Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Kevin Nealon and Terry Crews star in Blended.

BlendedCast of Characters:
Jim Friedman – Adam Sandler
Lauren Reynolds – Drew Barrymore
Eddy – Kevin Nealon
Nickens – Terry Crews
Jen – Wendi McLendon-Covey

Director – Frank Coraci
Screenplay – Ivan Menchell & Clare Sera
Producer – Mike Karz, Adam Sandler & Jack Giarraputo
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language

After a blind date that couldn’t possibly be any worse than what it was, Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) and Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) wanna move on and have nothing to do with each other. Through a series of contrivances that happen only in the world of movies that ain’t gonna happen. After their credit cards are mixed up, they’re forced to reunite.

Ooh – the plot’s thickening!!

Lauren’s business partner Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is in dismay over her boyfriend – who just happens to be Jim’s boss – having five kids and dumps him (she’ll make a lovely mother someday). That means they can’t go on the trip to Africa they were planning. Jim asks his boss if he can buy the vacation off of him and Lauren seizes upon the opportunity from Jen as well! And then wow – get this – they meet in Africa and are so shocked!!!! I would too!!!!

I mean, gosh golly gee willikers!!!! What an amazing coincidence!!!!!!!!

Movies like these are what nearly convince me to head to the nearest vet’s office and ask if I can have whatever was given to the dog they just put down.

Over 16 years since The Wedding Singer and 10 since 50 First Dates, it’s no surprise that a studio would jump at the chance to reunite Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore again. Even though I find Adam Sandler comedies to be obnoxious, Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish and Funny People notwithstanding, two of the more tolerable ones were The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, primarily ’cause of the genuine spark and chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore.

However, Blended wants to be the extreme ends of both dopey Sandler-esque humor and tear-evoking schmaltz, and fails in doing so. One moment we get one of Jim’s daughters Espn (yep, named after his favorite network) wanting some alone time as she talks to her mother who died of cancer. Then we get a shot of two rhinos humping. To be fair, there’s a tonal consistency of the heartfelt moments throughout the film unlike previous Sandler films where the sentimentality is shoehorned in at the end, but the downside is that it’s consistently maudlin, and is always followed by a dopey joke that doesn’t work at all.

The biggest laugh in the movie has to do with someone dying of cancer if that says anything.

Between the five kids shared by Sandler and Barrymore, most if not all are in need of psychiatric therapy. Barrymore’s oldest is an annoying prick with a running joke about how he keeps defending his mom’s hotness (Oedipus would be proud, kid), while having this unnatural obsession with his babysitter. Sandler’s oldest has a running joke about how she’s always mistaken for a boy, which makes no sense whatsoever ’cause even before her makeover moment where she comes out looking like a bombshell, she’s still very attractive as a tomboy. His youngest is apparently possessed, and there’s not enough Ritalin in this world to contain Barrymore’s youngest.

The only normal child is the one that talks to her dead mother. In all seriousness, though, with that character (another one who has those “Is she a boy or girl?” jokes constantly beat upside our heads) she has easily – no competition, really – the most heartfelt moment. It’s extremely maudlin and contrived in that of all the songs Barrymore sings to her, it’s the one the girl’s mother used to sing, but it’s a rare moment of sweetness that shows her character finally able to move on from her mother’s death.

Then it’s followed by another dumb, dopey joke, which thankfully reminded me that this film is horse shit.

The supporting cast features Kevin Nealon playing the same, annoying, unnecessary type of character he always pops up as in any Sandler-esque film. Joel McHale plays the token self-absorbed, dickhead ex-husband to Barrymore that – shocker – has no time for his kids. Terry Crews is extremely likeable and charming (he was the best part of the TV show Everybody Hates Chris), but plays an irritatingly happy-go-lucky African crooner that serenades exactly what’s happening in the film at the moment. He also not so subtly points out that the hotel both families are staying at is one that provides kids with activities while their parents fuck like rabbits. Wendi McLendon-Lovey has a few good quips here and there at the beginning, but then once Sandler pops up, she basically turns into a prop for him to throw jokes her way about her being fat, ugly and looking like a man (like his oldest daughter in the film, makes no sense at all). This film doesn’t deserve her talent.

Oh, and Shaq’s in this… Okay, moving on.

Adam Sandler is a frustrating actor. He is the equivalent of the kid with potential that just wants to hang around his friends and fart and play video games all day. The potential is what he gave us in Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish and Funny People. We see glimmer’s of the heart he showed in those prior films with the quieter moments he shares with his kids and Barrymore’s, but they are too few and far between. If there’s any defense I could give to his earlier career, it’s that there was some effort put into it. I didn’t like those movies, but he was at least trying. It’s no surprise why he continues to do films like these when he’s capable of so much better. It’s him skating his way to an easy paycheck. The schtick’s gotten old, predictable and lazy, though.

If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that I could sit through this lazily written, overlong, unfunny film while thinking at least Sandler has Men, Women & Children, directed by Jason Reitman, due out later this year. Like Paul Thomas Anderson, James L. Brooks and Judd Apatow before him, hopefully Reitman (who’s also great at bringing out the best in his performers) can bring Sandler back up to that potential so that I can sit through a film of his without longing to punch myself in the face, hoping that it blacks me out.

As for Barrymore, she’s still charming as they come and ignites some sign of life here. We see vaporous elements of the spark she and Sandler used to share as it coasts through this film on fumes, but nothing more.

She’ll always have E.T., though.

While dopey and juvenile, Blended came off as harmless. That’s about it. I mean, what else is there to explain here that we haven’t already seen in the millions of other idiotic Sandler films that get churned out of the assembly line each year? This is just another lazy, dumb, laughless and, more importantly, pointless romantic comedy that’s scant on both the romance and the comedy. It’s highly unnecessary to waste either your time or money on this entire film when you could just go to YouTube, look up the trailer and connect the dots on what exactly will happen without the need to subject yourself to such stupidity.

Wow, they end up together at the end. Who could’ve saw that coming?

I give Blended a D (★).

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