Published Aug 26, 2014While the third time's not exactly the charm for the combo of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in Blended, their chemistry does make the comedy one of Adam Sandler's more tolerable efforts in recent years. It's not as good as either The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates, but after releases like the two Grown Ups movies and Jack & Jill, it's a reminder that Sandler is still capable of pulling off a romantic comedy when he goes back to that dependable well.
The twist on Sandler and Barrymore's dynamic this time around is that they are both now middle-aged parents. Their relationship starts with a horrendous blind date. Jim (Sandler) takes Lauren (Barrymore) to Hooters and they mutually agree that they would be better off never seeing each other again. Alas, the fates conspire to bring them back together, as they both find themselves on the same vacation to Africa for convoluted reasons that make it awfully difficult to suspend disbelief.
He's the father of three girls and she's the mother of a couple of boys. Before you know it, they're both starting to fill the missing roles in their respective families and even maybe — gasp — falling for each other a little bit. As they embark on adventures like safaris, paragliding and riding ostriches, the episodic and good-natured family film slowly starts to grow on you.
As with most Sandler films, he's been more than generous with the supporting roles, here providing a memorable one for Terry Crews as the ebullient leader of an omnipresent singing group. All of the kids are also given plenty of time to develop just enough individual problems to resonate as personalities, and Joel McHale is perfectly cast as Lauren's deadbeat-dad ex.
For anyone who already assumed Sandler's films were little more than excuses to travel to exotic locales, the extras here will do little to dissuade them. There's a featurette showing the cast and crew going on safari, another focusing on all of the animals encountered while filming and a general air of fun permeating all of the behind-the-scenes footage. And if the deleted scenes and the gag reel are still not enough to satiate your need for every last detail about the making of the film, there's always the chance to see producer (and frequent writer of Sandler's films) Tim Herlihy throw up some of the worst basketball shots ever captured on film before miraculously managing to sink a sky hook.