Blended isn’t nearly as bad as some of Sandler’s other recent “works” (i.e. train wrecks) because unlike something like Grown Ups 2, I actually managed to laugh (even mildly) a couple of times and, well, it actually had some semblance of a plot even if it is convoluted. And although the material is substandard, the re-pairing of Sandler and Barrymore is a welcoming sight.
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 117 min. – $35.99 | August 26, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Note: This review does contain spoilers about the plot… interspersed with some snark and sarcasm.
Well, Blended was better than Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill, Just Go With It and That’s My Boy. /Review
Alright, seriously, Sandler’s latest entry, which goes outside his home away from home at Columbia Pictures, finds his third pairing with Drew Barrymore following two solid romantic-comedies in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates and while this isn’t anywhere close to being as good, there were at least a few laughs to be had even if the plot, which that alone places Blended above Grown Ups 2, is convoluted and some of the jokes, even by PG-13 standards takes this out of being a fun family comedy with some of the more adult material; that aside, though, it is a generally safe film.
The story begins in, perhaps appropriately enough, in a bathroom where Lauren (DREW BARRYMORE) is complaining to best friend Jen (WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY) that she’s on the date from hell and just wants to get it over with. We then cut to Jim (ADAM SANDLER), wearing his work shirt (from Dickie’s) and sitting in a booth at…Hooters. Well, I suppose this movie had to get funded somehow, doubt crowdsourcing would’ve financed it. So Lauren goes back out and this blind date only gets worse where Lauren throws up after drinking hot sauce and awkwardness ensues when Jim mocks Lauren’s career as a closet organizer and Lauren assumes Jim’s wife left to learn said wife died of cancer.
So, with that date done and over, these two never see one another again and they move on with their lives. Oh, wait. Not so much. After both complain to their friends about the date, Lauren to Jen and Jim to co-worker Doug (another cameo from SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, thanks Sandler!). We also get a glimpse at their personal lives as Lauren is basically a single mother to two boys as their father (JOEL MCHALE) is absent while Jim has to raise three daughters on his own.
Now, Jen does play a part in this convoluted plot as she’s dating some rich guy but when she discovers he has five kids of his own, she calls it off and a planned trip to South Africa goes out the window. Well, through happenstance Jim finds this out, after their credit cards got mixed up during a coincidental meeting at a convenience store, and wouldn’t you know it, the rich guy Jen was dating was Dick, owner of Dickie’s Sporting Goods and his boss.
So while Lauren asks for the reservations from Jen, Jim does the same through Dick and somehow unbeknownst to either one, they’re forced to stay in the same suite together. Oh, and this African adventure…for blended families. What are the frickin’ odds? Not only somehow, someway they got there (don’t ask how Jen got the tickets since Dick was paying for it all) but the numbers match up with two adults and five kids! Astounding!
Alright, you get your usual bickering, some of the kids don’t like the other, Lauren’s oldest is suspicious of Jim and disturbingly continues to call his mom hot (and in another running joke, has a crush on his babysitter) and in another predictable move, Jim helps Lauren’s sons out (such as teaching the youngest how to hit a baseball) and Lauren gives sage advice to Jim’s oldest, Hilary (BELLA THORNE who I swear is the spitting image of Rachel Leigh Cook), whom Jim has raised as a tomboy. And eventually Jim and Lauren begin to fall for one another. Didn’t see that one coming…
Blended is your typical romantic-comedy that rises and falls on the jokes and chemistry between the two leads, which is the main reason why it stands out from most of Sandler’s recent stinkers like Grown Ups 2 and Just Go With It, as he works so well with Barrymore that can even overcome some of the lame and obvious sex jokes.
The film was directed by Frank Coraci, who previously worked with Sandler and Barrymore on The Wedding Singer and also helmed Sandler in The Waterboy and Click. It’s a standard affair with joke cuts and sight gags mixed in with attempts at genuine and heartfelt scenes which mostly does work if they weren’t consistently interrupted by Terry Crews and is singing troupe who come in and out on a whim. I know some found Crews funny, but he was utterly wasted.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
This release comes with a simple matted slip cover. Inside is a regular DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital Copy.
There are several short featurettes covering a variety of topics (all presented in HD): Safari (3:13), Animals (3:34), Parasailing (2:19), Ostriches (1:51), Dick’s Customer Service (2:27), Herlihoops: Basketball Actor (1:06), Adam & Drew: Back Together Again (2:21), Bella Thorne’s Makeover (1:58) and Nickens (1:39) each are basic EPK behind-the-scenes featurettes mostly about filming in Africa, but as you can see, they’re not very long (total running time 20:28).
Gag Reel (5:53; HD) provides your usual giggles and flubbed lines.
Deleted Scenes (6:12; HD) include several scenes that, for one reason or another, were excised, though considering the movie was damn near two hours long, I can understand why.
Last is a featurette on the filming in Georgia (2:40; HD).
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Blended goes on an adventure landing on Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio (surprising as most often, Warner opens up the matting) and in 1080p high-definition. The picture here is alright with bright colors taking full advantage of the exotic locale but it’s also a bit soft in spots and detail levels aren’tthe greatest, especially for a recent release. All said, it’s an OK transfer but certainly disappointing.
AUDIO – 3.25/5
Speaking of disappointment, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is quite weak where even the music/score are incredibly quiet and dialogue levels, while altogether understandable, are hardly boisterous. This is not a dynamic lossless track where depth is replaced with faintness.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Blended isn’t nearly as bad as some of Sandler’s other recent “works” (i.e. train wrecks) because unlike something like Grown Ups 2, I actually managed to laugh (even mildly) a couple of times and, well, it actually had some semblance of a plot even if it is convoluted. And although the material is substandard, the re-pairing of Sandler and Barrymore is a welcoming sight. The Blu-ray released by Warner Brothers has some short EPK-like featurettes and some forgettable deleted scenes while the audio and video transfers are both a bit on the disappointing side.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.