Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
I remember talking with Media Mikes co-founder, Michael Smith, at the beginning of the summer about the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore and how the duo have probably put out the better of the Adam Sandler comedies; “50 First Dates” and “The Wedding Singer”. While he saw the potential for Barrymore and Sandler to perfect their trio of romantic comedies with “Blended”, I simply saw “Adam Sandler and Friends Go to Africa and Make Fart Noises with Their Mouths”. I’m here to say that Michael Smith was right.
“The Wedding Singer” is by far one of the diamonds in the rough in the Adam Sandler collection while “50 First Dates” was made watchable by the magic of the two. This time around, they do it again. “Blended” is the story of two single parents, Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore). Jim has three daughters while Lauren has two sons (they’re just one child short of a Brady Bunch reunion) and while they’re both suitable as stressed out single parents, they’re both lacking a set of skills to deal with their children of the opposite sex.
A blind date brings these two together and it goes nothing short of an ocean liner hitting an iceberg. First off, the date is at Hooters, then they can barely make eye-contact, and they’re both plotting an early exit and I haven’t even gotten to Jim knowing each waitress on a quick first name basis. It’s obvious these two are going to cross paths again (and they do a couple of times), but the story needs to really cement a ludicrous predicament for them to be stuck somewhere. How about a trip to Africa? A trip to Africa it is. Although I find it odd the movie never tells us the country…or city that the trip takes place…as if the intelligence of our characters only goes as far as believing the entire continent of Africa is just one big country.
It’s quite fascinating that if you were to cut out the gross out humor, like rhinoceroses banging, this is a very good comedy. There’s a lot of surprising laughs, provided by the children, and when Jim and Lauren take jabs at each other. Now that Sandler has aged and isn’t violently screaming for laughs, he is quite charming as a humble father of three who adds a level of sorrow because he’s afraid to move on past his first wife who’s dead. He’s shockingly believable as an apprehensive man who’s still in love his wife who has passed on.
My list of groans and cheers are about at equal length. While the running time definitely stretched this well beyond its means, I’m glad the movie took the time to slowly create the bond between Jim and Lauren. When the movie isn’t forcing a product placement in front of us, there’s actually a thoughtful reason why Jim loves going to Hooters (maybe the first in history). I know I’m beating a dead horse, but Sandler and Barrymore were the reason I inched to the positive side. I’ve never seen Barrymore this funny or Sandler this heartwarming. You almost forget both are happily married with their own children in real life when on-screen sparks fly between them. I guess Sandler just needed a break from his usual drab, but I’m sure he has some more head-shakingly bad movies in the works. Until then, enjoy “Blended”.