Lauren (Drew Barrymore) and Jim (Adam Sandler) decide, after a disastrous blind date, that they never want to see each other again. Of course, the universe has other plans, and the two – and their kids from previous relationships – soon find themselves on safari in Africa, where they realise they may have to reconsider their thoughts on one another.
Blended is Sandler and Barrymore’s fourth collaboration, after The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and Barrymore’s cameo role in Big Daddy. Originally named The Familymoon, Blended seems to set out to prove that lightning does not strike a fourth time, and maybe the actors should have taken their win from The Wedding Singer and left it at that.
Barrymore and Sandler play stereotypical characters; both recovering from long term relationships, and both unhappy about finding themselves in the dating pool again. Barrymore’s ex-husband – played by Joel McHale – cheated on her, and Sandler’s wife passed away some time earlier. Both have young families, and both have their flaws. Barrymore plays the cutesy role that we are used to seeing, and Sandler takes a slight step up from Jack and Jill, playing a man with three young daughters who he has no idea how to death with. Neither one of them challenges themselves, and neither one of them makes any sort of real impression.
The rest of the cast is made up of Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Bella Thorne and Joel McHale. McHale perhaps comes off worst of the supporting cast, as it seems his hatred for the role he finds himself playing transfers into his acting, making Mark a sarcastic and overacted character. We know you’re better than this Joel!
The story, frankly, is ridiculous, and the families being on safari in Africa simply sets up the jokes; Sandler on an ostrich, Sandler teaching a kid to play baseball with the help of a cricket coach, Barrymore singing kids to sleep, Barrymore spectacularly taking Sandler out, while in a parachute and a tacky over/underused African choir who try their best to be funny, and fail. In fact, nothing about Blended feels original or even remotely funny, most of the jokes come off as embarrassing, and the characters are caricatures of reality more than having even a touch of reality about them. There are some sweet moments involving Sandler’s kids dealing with the loss of their mother, but these quickly descend into saccharine sentimentality. Director Frank Coraci seems to have lost the subtle touch that made The Wedding Singer so great, and writers Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera show their lack of experience in this faintly embarrassing, unfunny mess.
Blended is a film that is not funny, lacks charm and is instantly forgettable. Sandler and Barrymore do nothing new or fresh here, McHale suffers greatly after his fantastic run on Community and the film is predictable and ultimately, dull. Those expecting The Wedding Singer style greatness will be disappointed, as will anyone going into this film expecting a comedy.