Those fans of The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates will remember just how charming and funny he can be when he’s playing Mr. Open and Vulnerable and relying less upon the vulgar locker room humor that went overboard in That’s My Boy and Jack and Jill.
By comparison, his new effort Blended, which opens in theaters Friday (May 23) is Oscar worthy. Remember, that’s hyperbole folks. But it is a throwback to a Sandler who charmed as that wedding singer and the Sea World employee.
That’s not to say that Blended represents some grand revelation. It merely takes Sandler back to his comfort zone. That’s good for him and better for his fans.
He stars as Jim, the manager of a Dick’s Sporting Goods and a widower out on a blind date with Lauren (Barrymore), a closet organizer. The date goes as most blind dates with the two ending the evening by being annoyed with one another.
Of course this being a movie, their paths will cross again for mostly awkward encounters such as when Lauren has to replace her son’s best porno mag and Jim needs to purchase feminine hygiene products for his oldest daughter.
Through that mishap, the pharmacy cashier inadvertently switches their credit card forcing Jim to track her down at her home. That’s when they learn of their mutual acquaintance – Jim’s boss and Lauren’s best friend, Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) who are dating.
That doesn’t last for long when Jen finds out that her Romeo has five children and just as they are supposed to take a trip to Africa, she breaks it off, leaving a trip to Africa available for cheap. Jim and Lauren come up with the same idea at the same time and unbeknownst to the other, their families end up sharing quarters on a trip to a South African resort for blended families.
It’s not difficult to predict the direction that Blended goes after that and, to be honest, the trip there is often funny. The dilemma here: Sandler, instead of playing to that charm and chemistry he possesses with Barrymore, reverts to form far too often, meaning that the fart and jokes about genitals show up far too often.
Director Frank Coraci, a frequent Sandler collaborator, also relies on one running gag far too much. It’s funny the first few times, but after a while audiences will want to shoot the screen.
Blended isn’t perfect. No Sandler film can ever claim that, but it knows what it is and that’s not all bad.
Director: Frank Coraci
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Joel McHale, Terry Crews
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Running time: 117 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com