Director Frank Coraci (Wedding Singer, The Waterboy) returns with a family oriented, laugh out loud comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. This is the fourth installment between Coraci and Sandler, and the third movie between Sandler and Barrymore. Jim (Sandler) is a Dick Sporting Goods store manager and has three daughters. Lauren (Barrymore) is a professional closet organizer that has two pre-pubescent sons. Even though they may seem like polar opposites, Jim and Lauren have one particular characteristic in common: being single parents.
The film starts on a blind date between Jim and Lauren who are both uncertain of each other, as they are both deserted and detached from the opposite sex. Both individuals are single, forty-something parents that are finally ready to get back into the dating game, but things don’t turn out as planned for Jim when he takes Lauren to an entirely disappointing restaurant, Hooters. Needless to say, the night ends on bad terms and both characters vent to their co-workers about the date from hell. Lauren’s friend, Jen, (Wendi McLendon-Covey) offers her African trip to her good friend that is in the state of distress, and you could probably guess it, Jim and Lauren run into each other on the wild African terrain.
We run into similar faces along the way at the African Resort from the Happy Madison Alumni including, Kevin Nealon, Adboulaye NGom, and Terry Crews. Crews played the memorable gerry-curled African entertainer Nicken, and had an ensemble of backup dancers that would sing their way into every catastrophic event that took place on the resort. The characters that really shined in this film were the children of Jim and Lauren. There were many cracks about Jim’s “sons”/ daughters that were mistaken as boys many times throughout the film because of their short hair and boyish good looks. Lauren’s oldest son, Brendan (Braxton Beckham), is not too fond of their new close relationship and tries to stop them at any cost. Jim and the boys really start to hit it off and they begin to look to him as a father figure, where as the “real” father, Mark (Joel McHale) is always missing in action.
We realize the children are missing the guidance of another parent in their life, and begin wishing Jim and Lauren would make it work. From riding wild ostriches, to catastrophic para sailing events, this movie was a PG-13 rated thrill ride around the beautiful and sun setting ambers of the African sky. This film still has the infamous Adam Sandler methodology we fell in love with in the mid to late 90’s, tied in with the heart-felt premise that was captured in Click and 50 First Dates. There is a constant role conflict between Jim’s attempts at being a matured parent or an immature fist-pumping “bro.” Whatever path that Adam Sandler was trying to lead in this film really worked and the dynamic chemistry between Jim and Lauren worked in an awkward and light-hearted sense.
From the audience perspective, it seemed that Sandler put more effort in this film than he has in the past five films, and really captured the blossoming romance between two single parents perfectly. There are not many heart felt rom com films that incorporate a twelve year old masturbating kid, a para-glider with a camel toe, and two rhinos having sex in the background of an almost perfect romantic scene, but Blended did it and did it with finesse. I went into the theater with a lack of enthusiasm and came out with a smile ingrained on my face. If you get passed the silliness and really inhale the overall premise, this is a great film to watch with a group of friends. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are getting older, but their on-screen romance only improves with each film they put out together, with the assistance of a great group of supporting actors. I have been disappointed by most Adam Sandler films the past ten years, and the only reason I keep coming back to the theaters is for the supporting cast and the celebrity cameos. Blended is a movie that seems to rejuvenate Adam Sandler’s career in an entirely new way, and keeps me intrigued for the entire one hundred seventeen minutes.
From a movie that didn’t seem that appealing from the trailer, I really was astounded by how well the story, comedy, and acting played hand in hand to make an enjoyable night at the movies. I believe all viewers will get passed some of the ridiculousness and see the movie for what it was: a comedy with a beating heart.
Out of 5 Nerd Skulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 3 / Directing: 4 / Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
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