June 13, 2014
Adam Sandler has been in a lot of film disasters of late like "Jack and Jill" and "Grown-Ups 2". He desperately needs a good one to recover lost ground. Reuniting with Drew Barrymore, his co-star in two of his biggest and most beloved hits of his career, "The Wedding Singer" and "50 First Dates," is a great idea.
Sandler plays Jim, a widow with three girls. Barrymore plays Lauren, a divorcée with two boys. After a disastrous blind date in Hooters, by some contrived plot manipulation, Jim and Lauren and all their kids were forced by circumstances to spend time together on a luxurious South African resort vacation!
Of course, as most rom-coms go, after bonding over the ostrich rides, the jungle safari, the jeep para-gliding and couples massage, these two mortal enemies get to know each other and their kids more and more. Will they eventually fall in love and live happily ever after? What do you think?
Adam Sandler seems to be the same guy in all of his films, only he is much older now. He still has that signature lazy smart-ass vibe his loyal fans love. This is benign stuff for him, not as memorable as his breakthrough parts in Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore.
I confess I am a sucker for the charms of Drew Barrymore in most of her films. Here, she maintains her classy beauty and genuine kind-hearted image even as she goes for the laughs. She is the perfect foil to Sandler's crassness. My favorite Drew moment in this film is that scene where she sings a lullaby for the kids.
The five kids, who have distinct problems of their own borne out growing up with a single parent of the opposite gender, mostly do well without being too annoying. Standing out among the kids is Bella Thorne, who plays Jim's eldest daughter Hilary, who often gets mistaken for a boy because of her pageboy haircut and basketball skills.
The supporting actors share in the glow of the Sandler-Barrymore charisma, as stereotypically corny as their characters were. Jessica Lowe delightfully plays a kooky blonde bombshell who is the second wife of a much older man. Zak Henry manages to be funny as an Edward Cullen clone. It was fun to see Shaquille O'Neal again as Jim's co-worker at the sports store. Muscle-bound Terry Crews steals scenes as the sleazy lead singer of a Greek Chorus of sorts at the African resort.
Overall, this film gets by mainly by the comedic chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore. The jokes may not really be so original or smashing. Somehow though, we still smile and chuckle because they are the ones delivering those jokes together. Though "Blended" does not exactly match their first two films together, but this is definitely a major step-up from Sandler's last two lame outputs, mostly thanks to Barrymore. 7/10.