‘Blended’ Review

Published 3 months ago by , Updated August 15th, 2014 at 8:01 pm,

Drew Barrymore Adam Sandler Blended Movie 2014 Blended Review

In Blended, single parents Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) and Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) are setup on a blind date; yet, despite the best of intentions, their meet up ends in disaster with no chance of a followup. Later, a surprise encounter at a local drug store doesn’t go any smoother and the pair storm away from the front door trading insults with no intention of ever meeting again – until they end-up on the same “familymoon.”

After Lauren’s business partner dumps Jim’s boss, Lauren and Jim, unbeknownst to one another, purchase separate halves of the couple’s now canceled family vacation – a luxurious trip to an Africa resort. Upon arrival, Jim (along with his three girls) and Lauren (joined by her two boys) go their separate ways – only to realize that many of their bargain vacation activities have been booked together as part of a “Blended Family Weekend” at the resort. With no choice but to spend time as a family, Jim, Lauren, and the kids attempt to make the best of their situation but will they actually “blend”?

Drew Barrymore Adam Sandler Blended Movie Date Blended Review

Lauren (Drew Barrymore) and Jim (Adam Sandler) in ‘Blended’

Frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Frank Coraci directs the actor in his third romantic comedy film with Barrymore. The pair had previously been featured in 50 First Dates and The Wedding Singer (which was directed by Coraci) to both critical and commercial acclaim and, after a string of profitable but mostly panned projects like Jack and Jill, Grown Ups 2, and Zookeeper, a rom-com with Barrymore may be a welcome (albeit safe) palate cleanser for moviegoers that have tired of Sandler’s childish antics. There’s a tenderness to the story that will connect with certain modern moviegoers – many of which will have faced the same challenges of single parenthood, step siblings, as well as absentee mothers or fathers. This isn’t to say that Blended is a fresh and bold new chapter in Sandler’s career – since Coraci’s film still prioritizes low-brow humor and cheap gags (often at the expense of heart-warming character drama).

Despite grounding in relatable blended family dynamics, the story is formulaic. Jim is a sports-obsessed father to three tomboys and completely naive to the needs or struggles of women (young or adult). Conversely, Lauren is a control freak mother of two defiant boys who struggles to enforce discipline and respect in her household. For that reason, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that many of the film’s most endearing exchanges actually revolve around Jim teaching Lauren’s boys to be men and Lauren helping Jim’s girls to embrace their femininity – which in turn causes both parents to see beyond preconceived notions that floundered their initial meeting.

Emma Fuhrmann Alyvia Alyn Lind Bella Thorne Adam Sandler Blended Movie 2014 Blended Review

Emma Fuhrmann, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Bella Thorne, and Adam Sandler in ‘Blended’

To his credit, Sandler dials back his heavy-handed schtick (slightly) to make room for Barrymore and the ensemble cast – ensuring that Jim is more than a cartoonish oaf. In fact, more than any other character, Jim is representative of the movie’s well-intentioned but clumsy effort to balance heart and humor. Sandler presents Jim as a slight variation on the loud and overbearing caricature that has maintained his brand from Billy Madison to Grown Ups 2 but as the Blended plot unfolds, the audience and Lauren begin to understand that there’s more to Jim’s quirks (and that infamous first date) than originally understood.

That said, despite some engaging scenes, Blended often disrupts empathetic drama with standard Sandler bits. The approach plays to fans of the comedy actor but holds the film back from expanding its reach – as many moviegoers who connect to the “blended” family narrative will (often) be jolted out of a touching encounter for a dumb-downed cry for laughs. For example, and at the risk of spoiling a half-baked joke, a key turning point in the story sees Lauren tucking the Friedman girls in for the night, lulling the littlest one to sleep with a lullaby, before stepping outside their tent – where Jim is waiting to scare her, shouting at the top of his lungs, with no regard for the situation (or his children’s sleep).

Kyle Red Silverstein Drew Barrymore Braxton Beckham Blended Movie 2014 Blended Review

Kyle Red Silverstein, Drew Barrymore, and Braxton Beckham in ‘Blended’

Unsurprisingly, Barrymore is less cartoonish and while Lauren is injected into plenty of ridiculous scenarios, the actress finds a good-natured balance between farce and sentiment. The same can be said for the cast of children – some of which are given more to do than others. The Friedman girls are charged with providing opportunities to bridge the families (and parents) with a heavy emphasis on the oldest, Hilary (Bella Thorne), and the youngest, Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind) – though, in spite of limited screen time, middle child Espn (Emma Fuhrmann) delivers the strongest individual character arc. The Reynolds boys get “blending” moments of their own but Brendan (Braxton Beckham) and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein) are primarily relegated to over-the-top comic relief.

Like most Happy Madison productions, Blended features a number of cameos and recognizable faces in supporting roles – with Shaquille O’Neal, Terry Crews, Joel McHale, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jessica Lowe, Kevin Nealon, and ESPN personality Dan Patrick providing some of the film’s biggest laughs – and, on occasion, a little good will.

Adam Sandler Ostrich Blended Movie 2014 Blended Review

Adam Sandler rides an ostrich in ‘Blended’

Longtime Sandler fans probably won’t be hung up when Coraci takes the low road to an easy joke but Blended isn’t satisfied with typical slap-happy Sandler film territory either. The movie spends a lot of time venturing to develop a meaningful relationship between the two families and, at times, the filmmakers actually brush against a deeper (not to mention smarter) story – but ultimately fail to break free of their stock dramedy formula. Blended carries a wider appeal than many recent Sandler efforts with relatable modern family dynamics and a likable supporting cast but, enslaved to common-denominator humor, the film falls short of the dramedy sweet spot and offers little more than a chalky blend of undercooked drama and eye-rolling jokes.

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Blended runs 117 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language. Now playing in theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5
(Okay)

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TAGS: Blended

25 Comments

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  1. Oh boy…

    ANOTHER lame Sandler movie. *face palm* He should have stuck with making those skit albums because THEY are hilarious. Just about every one of his movies are flops to me.

  2. The movie is utter crap.

    • Are u on acid.??? I would rather jerk off a goat than watch this

    • Adam sandler needs to die. Awful. Just awful

  3. 2 “major” releases this week, X-Men and Blended and poor Ben Kendrick draws the short straw and has to review the Adam Sandler movie. :(

    Sorry Ben.

  4. How is this guy still able to make movies? He must have some dedicated Producers.

  5. It’s amazing. The reviews have been bad for this movie but like GU2, the word of mouth has been incredible thus far. Some people were talking about it today and said it was a funny film and that they recommended people seeing it so of course now I see a bunch of couples going to see it tonight. I have this weird feeling that Blended will beat out Godzilla at the #2 spot…..ugh

    • Those people are part of the problem and must be eliminated.

  6. I feel as though Sandler has been on a bit of a slump recently (obviously) but unlike many critics will have you believe, his only terrible films have been Little Nicky, Jack and Jill, and That’s my Boy. He just needs a better director and script that can bring out the best in him and stop him from constantly holding back.

  7. My husband and I really enjoyed “Blended”. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are great together. The cast worked well together; lots of laughs and some tearful moments made a good, clean family movie. Beautiful African scenery. Will buy the movie when released.

    • I’m willing to bet that you also love watching rotisserie chickens turn in store windows.

      • Have to say I cracked up hard reading your comment. Made my day. Thx.

    • Thank you for your comment Nancy.

      I, personally, will not be seeing this film unless my wife makes me or it comes on a premium movie channel one day, but I was curious about it. Sandler and Barrymore have made enjoyable films together so I was hoping for a step up from My Boy and Jack & Jill.

      I didn’t mind Just Go With It, though. That was good.

  8. Dan Patrick hasn’t been an ESPN personality for a very long time. Actually his rivalry and problems with ESPN since he left is pretty famous. A proper title for him would be “NBC Sports personality, award winning radio host, and host of the upcoming game show Sports Jeopardy”.

  9. Blended got crushed on opening day Box Office by that new X-Men movie

  10. Out of curiosity how many have actually seen the movie before giving it a bad review? I get that Sandler has been in a slump for years and is still riding the diminishing wave from his glory days, but… Him and Barrymore do have great chemistry together and have made some great ones. Sometimes I think that we may be a little quick to crucify something like this before we even see it just because there is someone in it that has made movies we don’t like. I have not seen it and it may be truly awful but it just seems that out of this entire thread only one has seen it an they really liked it, so maybe before roasting something you should experience it and get your own thoughts. Ok I’ll get off my high horse now.

  11. Who voted 5 stars??!!!! The same people that laugh at Geico commercials, I bet.

  12. Way better than I expected…just a great family movie. Key word: family. Sandler is not a 20 yr old anymore

  13. Waste of money

  14. I saw the movie and absolutly loved it. I’m surprised it’s getting so many bad reviews. It’s a light-hearted feel good comedy. Yes their is a lot of slap-stick humor and yes it doesn’t have elaborate dramatic plot, but that’s what makes it so good. You don’t have to get so deep into the details to get a laugh out of you. Adam Sandler is a great commedian and does a great job at getting a good laugh. He doesn’t have to rely on crude humor or insults to get a good laugh like most comedians now a days. Kudos to you Sandler and your film!

    • Was wondering…we’re you on acid when you watched it??? Adam sandler needs to die and drew berry more has as much talent as my left testicle…

      • Jeez this thing sucks to write your comments… Were

    • luv luv luv this movie way too funny

  15. laughing at the comments,..this movie made me sad.not at all funny

  16. Adam Sandler has been on a 15 year slump. How can one person who was so explosively funny in the 90′s totally forget what it means to be funny.

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