I thought I’d exhausted my library of insults on the last two Sandler films I reviewed (Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy), I was hoping I wouldn’t have to resort to them at all as Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have traditionally starred in some of his better films…but Blended obviously didn’t get the memo and ditches the sentiment for more of what we’ve come to loathe from Sandler’s more recent cinematic abominations.
A single mother goes on a terrible blind-date with a single father and the two part ways, never expecting to see each other again. A chance reunion kicks off a rocky set of events that leads to the two families going on a trip to South Africa (simply referred to as Africa in the film) that sees them butting heads, but eventually out of the chaos may emerge a fondness as they tackle with their demons and their demonic children through various hijinks.
Its not the romantic outing you’d expect from the duo, nor is it the faecal-flinging fiesta of Grown Ups – it’s a peculiar middle-ground that doesn’t satisfy either camps and manages to insult the senses of every demographic that it attempts entertain…still better than Transformers: Age of Extinction, but not by much.
The Bottom Line
It’s rare to find a movie where the lead actor gives off a vibe as tired and depressing as the twenty-year-old material that he’s trying to deliver; that’s the first thing that you’ll pick up on when watching Blended – it’s not that Sandler’s character is down in the dumps, it’s Sandler himself that’s just thinking “If this movie doesn’t make money, then I’m out“. As it turns out, the film had a less than stellar opening at the US box-office, and I can only hope that Sandler will do the planet a favour and take a break, a very long break.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the one prerequisite of a comedy (whether it be a romcom like this or any subgenre) is that the jokes and gags be funny – if it’s not funny, then it’s a lie and anyone who paid for a ticket deserves a refund. Adam Sandler at this stage is like America’s very own Leon Schuster: he recycles his stale material over and over again and somehow manages to make a killing. Blended is even more Schusteresque as it takes place in Sun City for the most part and many of the gags are the sort of hair-brained, animal themed rubbish that South Africans have been privy to for some time. However, above all, there is one joke in the film that just cannot be overlooked and had every critic facepalming in unison: Sandler and Barrymore get a cup of coffee together while their kids are sleeping only to discover that two Rhinos are banging each other in the background; the couple quickly depart leaving the barista to crack this gem: “You won’t see this in New Jersey” simultaneously breaking the fourth wall and my heart. In my career as film critic, this must be the most moronic line ever to disgrace the medium of cinema.
This movie does no favours to anybody. The American characters are portrayed as mindless, inconsiderate, superficial jerks and the South African characters are portrayed as a bunch of brainless hicks with little understanding of anything at all. Worst of all, a large chunk of the film is product placement for Sun City itself, and to be honest, this is the sort of advertising that you wouldn’t pay for. Yes, Sun City can be a little ostentatious, but in Blended, the holiday destination is described as being a bizarre pseudo-Vegas style resort that is phony and tacky. There are impromptu singers busting a move at every corner (led by the unstoppable Terry Crews), tasteless couples retreats, game drives where you actually see animals, neighbouring townships where you won’t get mugged and assaulted, and porters that take their jobs way too seriously – it’s melting pot nonsensical drivel that either defies logic, or simply acts as platform for banal humour.
I can only say so much when it comes to Blended, its the sort of experience that must be witnessed first-hand to truly discover the extent of the awfulness within. This isn’t Sandler’s low point, but in terms of films set in South Africa, it’s something of a universal embarrassment. Adam Sandler is the drunken uncle that nobody wants at their get-together, yet he manages to arrive nonetheless and you can never get rid of him. Blended manages to insult and offend Americans, South Africans, and anyone with the perceptive organs required to discern this sensory abomination. Consider yourself warned – putting your hand in a blender would be a more entertaining prospect than sitting through Blended.