Blend together typical Adam Sandler humor and a predictable script and you get one of the worst movies of 2014. The third time’s not the charm for the pairing of Sandler and Drew Barrymore in the romantic non-comedy, “Blended”.
Sandler’s Jim is a widow with three daughters. His wife, who used to manage a Hooter’s restaurant, died of cancer several years ago. These facts are not only played for laughs but also give “Blended” an extremely over-sentimental tone. Jim works at Dick’s Sporting Goods (which must have paid millions for all the exposure). The oldest of his three daughters (Bella Thorne of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up”) is 15, and starting to feel a little insecure about her tomboy looks. The middle daughter still talks to her dead mother. And the youngest is used simply as a prop to throw-out bad one-liners. It’s as if she’d already seen every previous Sandler film. All the girls clearly need a mother-figure in their lives.
Lauren (Barrymore) is a divorced mother to two pre-teen boys. She runs a closet organizing company. The oldest boy is dealing puberty issues while the youngest has major behavior and anger problems. Their father (played by Joel McHale) doesn’t spend any time with them. Clearly, these boys need a father-figure in their lives.
After Jim and Lauren go on a very bad blind date they never want to see each other again. But, as luck would have it (and could only happen in poorly written Hollywood movies and sitcoms), the two families end-up together on the same African vacation. They find this out when everyone meets face-to-face at the resort (apparently they weren’t on
the same flight).
It takes the first half hour of “Blended” just to get to this point. Once in Africa, the families begin to interact with each other in a series of obvious situations, and they start to grow closer, even though Jim and Lauren are clearly not in love…yet.
Every scene in “Blended” is dragged-out past the breaking point. 2014 is becoming “The Year of the 2-Hour Film that Should’ve Been 90 Minutes”. However, in the case of “Blended”, even that would have been too long. There’s no substance here, no creativity, and no payoff. Instead, there are an endless number of painful and cringe-enducing scenes. And no one is safe from the embarrassment, including Shaquille O’Neal (who plays Jim’s co-worker at Dick’s), Kevin Nealon (as a fellow vacationer) and everyone in the main cast.
A song by Barrymore late in the film was the last straw for me. And this script (not written by Sandler, so he gets some credit for that) is so predictable that, by the end, I was regretting not placing bets with fellow audience members on what would happen next, because I would’ve won back the money spent on my ticket.
You can tell that Sandler and Barrymore are good friends in real life and have worked together before, but their chemistry can only go so far. “Blended” is in a different category of “bad Adam Sandler comedies” – maybe because he didn’t help write it. But it’s also not as offensive or crude as other films in this genre. There aren’t nearly as many opportunities for laughs, either.
Wendi McLendon-Covey, great on ABC’s “The Goldbergs”, is wasted as Lauren’s business partner. McHale, very funny on “The Soup”, proves again that acting isn’t his thing, and in a Disney animated movie subplot gone horribly wrong, Terry Crews plays a resort entertainer with his own troupe who show-up every five minutes to try to bring the couple closer together. This gimmick is borderline offensive.
“Blended” is rated PG-13 for language and some rude and adult content. It’s appropriate for teens and up. I did laugh more than I expected: twice. Sandler should start building a shelf for the new Razzie Awards he’ll be favored to win for yet another comic failure.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Blended” gets a D.