Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have an unexpected comic (and romantic) chemistry that first showed itself in 1998’s The Wedding Singer and was even more pronounced in 2004’s 50 First Dates. They’re back on screen together in their third romantic comedy with Blended, a film that might want to add the word “family” in front of rom-com.
The attention this time out is less about the romantic sparks between Barrymore and Sandler’s single parents and more about the “blending” of their two families.
The film begins with Sandler taking Barrymore out for a blind date -- at Hooters! As seen in the Blended trailer, that does not go well in any sense of the word. And if these two never see each other again, it would be too soon.
Meanwhile, each has their own problems raising kids on their own. Sandler, who lost his wife to cancer, is trying to raise three girls solo – with the oldest a teenager!
Barrymore has two boys, with her oldest knocking on that teenage door. Her husband (Joel McHale) left her for his assistant and it has Barrymore doing her best raising boys with an absentee dad.
When the opportunity (we’ll spare you the details) arises for a paid South African vacation, each jumps at it, without knowing the other is going. When they get there, the families must blend because they have to share rooms. You can tell right away that Barrymore and Sandler will find ways to enjoy each other’s company. But, this isn’t about that.
If Blended works, it is because the movie showcases how each can be a parental influence to the other’s children that is so sorely needed. Barrymore’s boys need a male role model (even if it’s Sandler!) and Sandler’s girls sorely need Barrymore’s feminine advice and more.
The film also works as a postcard of sorts for the country of Africa (well, at least the resort part of the continent). In between humorous moments with children and adults and then of course Barrymore and Sandler’s attempt at hilarious moments together, there are fun activities that slowly bring both families close together. See what we mean? This is not a romantic comedy that has the audience pulling for the two leads to make it work. Here, we need the two families to come together.
Sandler has only one of his usual suspects in a supporting role, and it’s the always funny Kevin Nealon. He plays a fellow vacationer who has a much younger wife and a teen son who can’t stand either of them. Of course, the teen son and Sandler’s teen daughter have some sparks.
Joining the Happy Madison movie family is Wendi McLendon-Covey as Barrymore’s co-worker/BFF, up-and-coming comedienne Jessica Lowe as Nealon’s wife, and -- dominating every scene he’s in -- Terry Crews as an African singer who seems to have a song for every humorous moment in Blended.
Our Blended review finds that the film will have a nice appeal for families and not necessarily Sandler’s usual audience. Fans of Barrymore and Sandler’s first two pairings might be disappointed that it is less about the two stars, and more about their families being Blended.