These days, Adam Sandler is a bottle of beer that’s lost all its bubbles — cheap, mass-produced domestic beer.
So let’s focus on what works in his latest, “Blended,” because he sure doesn’t.
Drew Barrymore, in her third pairing with Sandler, brings energy and conviction to her performance as Lauren, a mother of two thrown together on an African vacation with this lump she met on the Blind Date from Hell — a blind date at Hooters.
Wendi McLendon-Covey, playing her best friend Jen, delivers a comically furious turn; and Terry Crews steals the movie as the MC and singer of an African vocal group at the Sun City resort where Jim (Sandler), the sad sporting-goods salesman, and Lauren, the professional closet organizer, and their five kids end up in an absurdly contrived joint vacation/safari.
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We are deep into the “family comedy” stage of Sandler’s working life, families where the kids cuss and rhinos hump, where Jim urinating long and loudly outside of a tent is played for a laugh.
Jim’s a widower, raising three emotionally stunted daughters to be pseudo-jocks, like himself. They
need a mom. Lauren is newly divorced, with a maddeningly rude teen
and tantrum-tossing tween
, both of whom need a father figure.
Every setup is an eye-roller. Gags and one-liners that would be discarded in a better comedy are trotted out and then underlined here.
And in the middle of it all is Sandler, aimlessly going through the motions.