Blended Review
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Some movie stars use their successes to build their careers and reputations—to earn bigger, more challenging roles that could help them fill their offices with statuettes. Adam Sandler, on the other hand, seems to make movies solely to bankroll fun-filled vacations with his friends. Recently, Sandler took his old friend and collaborator, Drew Barrymore, on a luxurious family vacation to Africa—while filming Blended in their spare time.

Blended finds Sandler’s Jim and Barrymore’s Lauren meeting on a horrible blind date. Despite their mutual repulsion, though, they keep running into each other. And when Lauren’s best friend breaks up with Jim’s boss just a week before the former lovebirds were supposed to leave on a fabulous vacation to Africa, Lauren and Jim both jump at the chance to take advantage of the break-up and take their kids on a cheap African vacation. The problem, however, is that it means having to spend the week together.

Sandler isn’t exactly known for his sophisticated comedies—and Blended adds nothing new to the funnyman’s filmography. But at least he and Barrymore make a likable comic pair. She tends to tone down his usual sophomoric shtick, while his wacky sense of humor adds a little bit of spice to her saccharine sweetness. She brings just the right rom-com touches, while he brings the fart jokes. They’re almost total opposites, yet they have an easy-going chemistry—and that’s what makes them fun to watch. And that’s once again the case with Blended. Though they sometimes feel awkward on their own, they’re generally cute together.

And, really, without the stars’ comfortable, laid-back style, Blended would be a near disaster. The entire plot is built on convenient coincidences, unlikely twists, and rom-com clichés. And in order to buy into the story, you have to accept the fact that two perfectly average people could convince a heartbroken rich man into selling off his failed romantic vacation to Africa for dirt cheap.

Of course, Blended didn’t need to take place in Africa. In fact, it could have just as well taken place in Florida—and it might have actually made the story more believable. But, on the bright side, the African setting allows Terry Crews to play a hilariously over-the-top African singer—and it also makes for some cool safari scenes. And, really, if you’ve got millions of dollars to spend on a movie, why would you slum it in Florida when you could use your bloated budget to take your family and friends on an all-expense-paid vacation to South Africa? At times, the film feels like just that: a silly get-together with a bunch of old friends. Sandler tends to work with the same people again and again, so each new film feels like a reunion, filled with pranks and inside jokes—and that alone will keep longtime fans entertained.

Even if you’re a devoted fan of Sandler’s own brand of comedy, though, you probably won’t be adding Blended to your list of favorite Sandler movies. It’s haphazard and clichéd, and although Sandler and Barrymore work well together, it’s their least successful pairing. But considering Sandler’s recent comic tragedies—like Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy—his latest is a relatively harmless (if entirely brainless) comedy.

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