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Happy Madison’s ‘Blended’

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After the debacle that was “Grown Ups 2” and the ronchfest of “That’s My Boy,” Sandler has managed to deliver a film that is closer to the expectations of longtime, loyal fans. Being a Sandler enthusiast helps smooth over the dark spots in “Blended”.

Sandler staples like his talking bad to kids and hilarious, inappropriate jokes keep the audience roaring and the sweetness of finding love after a first marriage keeps them cooing.

Unfortunately, this is a movie that will likely further alienate those who have struggled to find the charm in Sandler’s recent films. Even as the chemistry-strong duo of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reteam, their connection isn’t enough to repeat the universal enchantment of “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates”.

Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore) are two single parents who meet on a blind date. The date goes horribly for both, but in a few turns they find themselves heading to Africa together and relying on each other to improve their parenting experiences.

Their children each have distinct personalities and hardships they are trying to overcome. What shines through is the parental philosophy of utter love and support while two parents try their best to give hope to their babies.

Blended” goes for the laughs and in most instances finds them. But in true Sandler fashion there are some not-so-innocent or appropriate jokes for kids and some are just goofy and over the top. Fans will appreciate the humor, but others might find it lame.

Because of the underlying themes of bereavement and what reminded me of Garth Brook’s song “Learning to Live Again” there are really touching moments that add an emotional layer to the silly venture.

The silliest aspect is Terry Crews and the Junior Mambazo choir. They pop up at awkward times singing ridiculous songs and Crews flexes his muscular body in outlandish ways, but in the end they lend themselves to a pretty fantastic soundtrack.

“Blended” really is great fun with its sense of fantasy and magic and speaks strongly to the dating parent’s experience. But, it is heavily predictable and terribly similar in structure and story to “Just Go With It”. Lovers of the film won’t mind, but those tired of the Sandler shenanigans will cringe.

See it for a mindless and laugh out loud night at the movies, but heed the rating for strong language and crude visuals.


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