In my younger years, I had a very brief love affair with self serve soda pop fountains. Yeah, the kind with like a dozen distinctly different options. On the visit to our favorite Chinese buffet place, I would try a different flavor each time. One day, I got the brilliant idea to mix all of my favorite drinks together. I was young and inexperienced to the ways of the world, so my reasoning was that all the good flavors would make one super flavor. I was wrong. Sure, they’ve all blended together, but in the end they don’t mix well and go down (and sometimes come back up) even worse. This is almost exactly sums up my experience with Adam Sandler’s latest film, Blended.
We see the previously semi-successful comedic duo of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore once again in their third, and probably worst film together to date. Jim (Adam Sandler) is a father of 3 daughters who lost his wife to cancer. Lauren (Drew Barrymore) is a newly separated mother of 2 young boys. After a disastrous blind date at Hooters, they each go home, hoping to never run into each other again. I had hoped they wouldn’t at the movie would be over. Inevitably, they find each other again, and in a very ridiculous twist, they end up going on vacation to Africa together. Tons of slapstick jokes, boring attempts at sentimentality and at least a dozen cameos later, you reach the predictable conclusion of the film. A functionally dysfunctional Brady Bunch family union.
I tried really hard to have an open mind, especially since I kind of enjoyed the chemistry between them in The Wedding Singer. There was just no saving this film. We’ve dealt with his slapstick jokes, joe everyman schtick, and the worst, his attempt at genuine emotions. Nothing tops his most recent failure in attempted humor than his sexist and racist overtones throughout the entire film. I’ll admit, the scenes with Terry Crews as a hotel entertainment singer were the funniest part of the film. That being said, the completely irreverent portrayal of Africa comes off as offensive when they play into every stereotype. The only thing that comes off as even remotely authentic would be the safari ride along, which quickly turns into banal drivel in the hopes of getting at least a chuckle out of the audience. I don’t find it funny, and I find the flagrant sexism concerning women, gender roles, and even comments about menstruation even less so.
Adam Sandler delivers a typical performance for him. Wise-cracking, socially inept man with little to no respect for anyone or anything. It doesn’t lend well to the believability of the story that he would fall in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, especially when his character is consistently unlikable, even when he tries to come off as the opposite. There was a moment, near the final third of the film, where most of the humor was gone and it was cradling an emotional cliff, ready to dive us into legitimate sentiment. We never reach those depths, and worse yet, we are bored while we’re left waiting. Then the credits roll and we’re dissatisfied that we never arrived to the pseudo-emotional point previously promised, and that would have made the film bearable, but at the same time we are happy it’s over.
RATING: ★★(2/10 stars)
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