Director: Frank Coraci
Writers: Ivan Menchell and Claire Sera
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews and Wendi McLendon-Covey
Studio: Warner Brothers

“Blended” is what you do when your best days were 20 years ago and now you’re starting to look old. Drew Barrymore can do better and Adam Sandler tries to do better. Still, it’s an excuse to get Warner Brothers to pay for a filmed vacation while giving your friends some work. There’s a reason people keep working with Sandler. He’s a fun guy, he gets movies green lit and you can tell that they’re having a fun time. The problem with that is, a discerning audience member has no reason to give a damn about it. These aren’t your friends. Friends wouldn’t charge you good money to listen to their stupid jokes.

Going to Africa is an interesting twist for the Sandler formula. Director Frank Coraci is a Sandler movie veteran and he makes the most out of shooting in this mythical family oriented Safari getaway. If anything, I appreciate the old studio family picture throwback to setting vacation movies in areas where the average family couldn’t raise enough money to attend. That is the right kind of disconnect to tell the mouth breathers that this is a sophomoric fantasy. But, they don’t get it. They’ll marvel at how brave it is for Sandler and Barrymore to star in a comedy about divorce. Not like people haven’t been making comedies about divorce for ages now.

The supporting cast is funny and they do the heavy lifting, as Sandler has to mug about for the camera. You’re getting old, Waterboy. It’s time for Bobby Boucher to start thinking about a legacy and not rehashing the same plots over and over again with your pals. If you’re reading this without seeing the film, you already know the ending. Just buy a ticket and people watch during the movie. It pays to know who in the hell is actively supporting this stuff. That’s why when great projects get cancelled or other things don’t get picked up, you can have the mental image of your chubby mailman shoveling popcorn in his face while laughing at this clean comedy.

When I cover these films, I hate to sound like the nay-saying old crone. But, aesthetics matter a great deal to me and lazy film choices drive me up a wall. Do we really need forced musical cues for every character entering a room. When Bella Thorne finally starts looking like a young woman, Coraci makes the audience endure every family member’s musical response to a young woman glamming it up. This isn’t the material of film, this kind of laziness belongs to a morning zoo radio show. While it’s terrible, I’m still probably going to keep it on as background noise when it hits the HBO circuit.


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