My trip to the cinema to catch Godzilla before it had run its course was alas in vain. The film had run its course and I missed out on yet another film I should have seen in the cinema, ergo Gravity. Silverbird is actually quite dry at the moment and the only thing left for me was unfortunately Blended. I don’t review movies for a living so I’m not obliged to see movies which, for the most part, I don’t like, Adam Sandler films included here. This time I decided what the hell, no matter if Adam Sandler featured in the one film that physically repulsed me (That’s My Boy) or the most pointless film ever known (Grown Ups 2), I’m seeing Blended.
The film, directed by Frank Coraci let me add, starts with Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Drew Barrymore), both single parents on a blind date, at no less a place than Hooters which goes horribly wrong. Through a series of ridiculous contrivances, their respective families they find themselves on a luxury trip to Africa.
A lot of stuff does happen between the date and the trip most of which is chaff. We are introduced to their respective families here; Lauren has two sons, the older, Brendan who fancies a jerk off or two and the younger one, Tyler who pretty much sucks hard at baseball. On the Jim side of the fence, he has three girls whom he dresses in sports gear he probably gets from his workplace (he works in a sporting goods store) with 60’s Beatles-like haircuts. There’s 15-year-old Hilary/Larry who thinks she her boobs are tiny. Their middle daughter is oddly named ESPN (pronounced Espen). She apparently has not gotten over the death of their mom and saves seats for her at dinner. The youngest is Lou who to me is probably the most ordinary of the trio of girls.
Sandler and Barrymore have a workable chemistry that benefits the film greatly and keeps us a tad engaged but as far as the dynamics of the two families go, the girls are in obvious need of a mother figure and Jim’s girls of course longing for a woman’s touch. They continue to run into each other after the date and the films stumbles around their coincidental meetings for a while before the even more manufactured happenings present them with the luxury vacation. We all see where the film is going from the get and the director would have done us all a favour by just keeping the film down to a crisp 90 minutes instead of feeling the need to spell out every little emotional development that sees them “blended” in the end.
As usual in these kinds of films, we never get a sense of what the country visited is actually like. Their version of Africa as a setting is straight out of a safari themed amusement park. We do not meet any real African people and those we do see have exaggerated Nigerian intonations. Aside the “Blending” resort tailored to burgeoning families, it’s just the usual clichés of safaris and the like. Some may consider it racist but come on, let it slide.
Comedy films are rarely funny these days and this sort off falls short of comedic standards. The gags on show are dry and generally over milked and script doesn’t offer any intelligent humour. The quip with people mistaking Jim’s girls for boys gets tired before it even starts and is frankly ridiculous, so too the “Closet Queens” joke. However, I will hold up my hand and admit I found myself laughing at the film on a significant number of occasions. Terry Crews features as some kind of South African showman and is always fun to watch along with his ever-present group of backup singers and always impressive pectoral muscles which continually amused me. A small shout to the masturbation and accompanying cracks which were fairly laugh-worthy.
Essentially, this is just an excuse to go on a trip to South Africa and the real joke is on us because we are the ones paying for a vacation for Sandler and his cast. I will a knowledge the substance Sandler brings here, no matter how small. In the scenes with the kids, his dramatic nous glosses through in a way which was lacking in Barrymore’s own interactions with them which was generally nuts and bolts.
This film maintains some level of consistency and doesn’t turn into an undisciplined crude show like some of his more recent showings. On the whole it’s fairly decent or Citizen Kane by Sandler’s recent standards. Its evenness and meaningful moments to may be enough appeal to the less cynical of you lot.