Entertainment LIFESTYLE  >  Movie Review of the Week: “Blended”

Movie Review of the Week: “Blended”

Movie Review of the Week: “Blended”
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I just saw Adam Sandler on a talk show and he described his new comedy with Drew Barrymore as a “romantic, family film”. You could have fooled me. “Blended” is full of jokes about sex, sex, boobs, menstruation and sex. It does concern two parents and five children, so perhaps that’s what he meant. But don’t be surprised if you take your pre-teens and end up squirming in awkward embarrassment next to them as hippos hump and Barrymore talks about flow.

You’ll also be squirming at the quality of the comedy which moves seamlessly between mediocre and awful. Sandler, as a schlumpy dad called Jim, doesn’t stretch too far from what we expect of him; with his man-child voice and juvenile sense of humor, Sandler has created another extension of all the characters he’s played in his “comedies”. With his untucked shirts, dead-end job at a sporting goods store and his love of Hooters, Jim would send most women screaming.

Which is exactly what Lauren (Barrymore) does when she is set up with Jim on a blind date. Not only does he invite her to Hooters, but he drinks her beer when she is in the bathroom and then splits the bill and runs out on her. She is outraged and complains to her best friend and business partner Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) at the audacity of it all. As always in this type of manufactured rom-com, the role of the sidekick is the juiciest and McLendon-Covey makes the most of it. Her line delivery is priceless and it’s a shame when she disappears from the movie for a large chunk of it. Jim’s sidekick is played by Shaquille O’Neal who doesn’t have the same facility for comic timing or convincing acting chops. Enough said.

By an elaborate bit of script contrivance, Jim and Lauren (he’s a widower, she’s divorced) both end up on a South Africa safari vacation with their kids. Jim has three girls and the big joke here is that they look like boys because Jim takes them to a barber to get their hair cut and dresses them in oversize workout clothes from his store. Lauren has two boys, one of whom is hyper-active, the other has just discovered girls, girlie magazines and masturbation. With a heavy-handed lack of surprise, the kids flourish in the presence of an adult of the opposite sex.

In true rom-com tradition, Jim and Lauren despise each other, but thrown together in a resort with planned activities and group outings, their attraction grows.  There are some funny one-liners, but the Africa part of the movie is a tired and embarrassing string of skits, joined together by an excruciatingly bad floorshow, headed by a tacky singer called Nickens, played by the (usually funny) Terry Crews. Gags involving emus, the afore-mentioned hippos and a very large rhinoceros fall flat.

The intentions of “Blended” are honorable. Dating as a single parent is difficult and often comical. Barrymore is always an appealing presence and Sandler manages to evoke some sympathy for Jim in a couple of tender scenes with his youngest daughter. I feel like there is a good movie hidden somewhere beneath all the strained attempts at “edgy” humor and sexual innuendo. But “Blended” is not that movie, and definitely not one to take the new step-kids to see.




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