- RatedPG /GenreComedy
Like a modern-day ‘Brady Bunch’, ‘Blended’ tackles the pertinent story of "blended" families, where the family unit is made up of the couple and their children from previous relationships.
But unlike the Bradys, it is not all ready-made marital bliss.
After a disastrous first date at Hooters, widower Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) and newly divorced Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore), who haven’t been on dates other than with their respective spouses, swear never to meet again.
In their separate lives, Jim isn’t doing a great a job of raising three girls. There’s the tomboy Hillary (Bella Thorne) or “Larry” as he calls her, ESPN (Emma Fuhrmann), named after this favourite sports channel, and the adorable Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind).
Lauren, on the other hand, is an uptight divorcee who controls and obessively organises her son and her own lives. She also organises closets for a living. Her demanding sons are Brenden (Braxton Beckham), a sex-crazed 13-year-old, and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein) a hyper sports fan.
Drew Barrymore's Lauren and Adam Sandler's Jim are not fans of each other at first
But of course, by chance, the two adults do meet up again. A complicated set-up brings them back together for a joint family vacation at a resort in South Africa, and that is when the story quickly veers of into formulaic territory.
Sandler and Barrymore easily take to their roles as parents. While Sandler’s go-to shtick of playing the lovable doofus works for him, it is Barrymore’s warmth and nurturing turn as the mother-figure that is truly winsome. The children also get ample screen time and shine in their individual roles.
Pity then that scenes are sugarcoated with filler material such as slapstick comedy, cheap laughs and Terry Crews in an inexplicable turn as the leader of a Ladysmith Black Mombaza-type South African male choral group that shows up at the most inpportune times.
Drew Barrymore shines in her role as a mum
The undeniable chemistry of Sandler and Barrymore carries the movie, but ‘Blended’ might not have the enduring power of their previous collaborations such as ’50 First Dates’ or ‘The Wedding Singer’.
Filled with rehashed plots, such as the daughter who goes from tomboy to the belle of the ball, the son who goes from baseball rookie to homerun hitter, and an extremely predicatable outcome, this romantic comedy is certainly not the duo's finest work.
It’s entertaining, but it is not anything you haven’t seen before.