Posted by Joel Copling on May 19, 2014

It seems the natural complaint about Adam Sandler's filmography, but every potential moment of dramatic honesty in "Blended" is punctuated by sarcasm, scatology, or some sort of jokey gag. When Sandler's Jim confesses to his blind date Lauren (Drew Barrymore) that his wife died of cancer and she admits to thinking that he was probably divorced, he shoots back that he probably assumed that her husband had shot himself. When Jim's daughter Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind, a natural who needs a real role to play in the future) begins to warm up to a maternal figure (namely, Lauren, and was I ruining the conventional rom-com trope for you?) for the first time since the death of her mother, Jim's urination just outside the tent can be heard by all. When another of Jim's daughters, Espn (Emma Fuhrmann)--yes, she is named for the sports channel--wants the spirit of her dead mother to sit in the chair next to her at the table, another guest at it played by Kevin Nealon just has to call out her slight weirdness.

The problem is, these are threads that could potentially work in the first pairing between Sandler and Barrymore since 2004's charming "50 First Dates," but Ivan Minchell and Clare Sera's screenplay works hard to ensure that none of them does. Not to mention the stereotypes with which they are working: Jim is the typical grieving-but-healing father of three daughters who adore him, Lauren is the typical Professional Woman (with a strange form of OCD that is only addressed two or three times and added onto the professionalism) with a cheat of an estranged spouse (Joel McHale), Nealon's Eddy is the manic weirdo with a tendency to compartmentalize everything he says into phrases, Eddy's younger wife Ginger (Jessica Lowe) is hot but completely dim and rather creepy, and Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is the dime-store best friend to Lauren.

The premise, at least, doesn't insult intelligence, so much as it bends logic a bit: Jen's latest beau Dick (Dan Patrick) was going to take her on a safari in Africa, but he has five kids, a fact which she just can't handle (what?), so in a strange twist of fate that makes zero sense given an iota of thought, Jim and his daughters (Bella Thorne plays the third and oldest, named Hilary, who sports an unfortunate hairdo before becoming a swan) buy the trip from them separately and attend, just as Lauren does the same for herself and her two sons (Braxton Beckham and Kyle Red Silverstein, both greatly annoying). This leads to some questionable gender politics, casual racism (Terry Crews and Aboulaye NGom appear as stereotypical African concierges, and Crews is especially embarrassing), crude sex jokes, and flat filmmaking (Director Frank Coraci fails to bring anything but blunt artlessness to his staging of any sequence)--you know, one's usual, uninspired comedy routine. Move along; there's nothing to see in "Blended."

Film Information

Adam Sandler (Jim), Drew Barrymore (Lauren), Bella Thorne (Hilary), Emma Fuhrmann (Espn), Alyvia Alyn Lind (Lou), Braxton Beckham (Brendan), Kyle Red Silverstein (Tyler), Joel McHale (Mark), Wendi McLendon-Covey (Jen), Kevin Nealon (Eddy), Jessica Lowe (Ginger), Zak Henri (Jake), Abdoulaye NGom (Mfana), Terry Crews (Nickens), Shaquille O'Neal (Doug), Dan Patrick (Dick).

Directed by Frank Coraci and written by Ivan Minchell and Clare Sera.

Rated PG-13 (crude/sexual content, language).

117 minutes.

Released on May 23, 2014.