Blended: Movie Review
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Terry Crews, Kevin Nealon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Joel McHale
Director: Frank Coraci
Re-teaming after the success of The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, you'd think Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore could knock it out of the park as the third time rolls around.
Barrymore is uptight organiser and single mom of two boys Lauren and Sandler is sports shop worker and single dad of three girls Jim, a pair who meet on a blind date at reputable establishment Hooter's at his behest. Needless to say the date doesn't go well and the pair vow never to meet again.
However, in true romcom style, that's not what transpires and through a series of massive coincidences, the pair - and their respective siblings - end up on a holiday together in Africa.
Stuck together at a blended relationships hotel (a place where mixed families go to strengthen their bond), the pair's mutual dissatisfaction and initial frostiness begins to thaw....
Blended has a kernel of a good solid story idea within, but thanks to all involved, that nugget of an idea is wasted in the kind of unfunny sugar-coated slop that betrays all the talent. At its heart, the story of two single parents with mismatched siblings (she yearns for a girl to do girly things, he pushes his eldest into playing sport cos he wants a boy) and the innate sadness could have mined for a neat cross of tragedy and pathos, as both parents learn to let go.
Instead, what's served up in this mix, is a tonally mismatched piece that throws in broad "comedy" (a term used extremely lightly in this case) and a sentimental story; elements that could have worked in tandem a lot better had the effort been put in at a script level. With not enough laughs and not enough heart, it just doesn't gel.
Barrymore and Sandler have chemistry and sell the relationship well (even if Sandler goes from relatively downbeat sad-sack to usual shouting schtick) but it's not enough to pull Blended out of the mire. Scenes with the kids have a tenderness and heart (particularly on Sandler's part, whose Jim has a valid reason for the innate sadness) but it's not enough to spread the love during the 2 hour run time, thanks to a lack of jokes that are anything but predictable, strong set ups or pay-offs.
Terry Crews brings an OTT manic touch to the leader of an African style Greek chorus that interject for no reason whatsoever throughout the proceedings - and produce an earbleeding set of puns from "Love is a many Blended thing" to "My Blended love" as the whole thing creaks to a close.
The fact that even long time Sandler cameoist/ collaborator Rob Schneider doesn't even deign to appear should give you all you need to know about Blended - quite frankly, this bomb skimps on way too many of the elements to even guarantee you a modicum of a good time at the cinema. It's clear that the third time of teaming up just isn't the charm.