Blended

blend2AWEvery time I think I have Adam Sandler figured out, he surprises me. When he burst onto the scene in the 90s as one of the oddest Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live, I found him different enough to be interesting. Then, as I – and he – got older I just found his humor sophomoric. The best thing I could say about him was he was loyal to his buddies. Rob Schneider owes his career to Sandler. By my count, Schneider has been in 14 Sandler films.

After last year’s truly dreadful “Grown Ups 2”, I’d had it. Sandler and his cronies looked like they were having a great time, but I wasn’t. So when “Blended came along, I wasn’t overjoyed. But, every so often, Sandler does something both funny and sweet… like “Blended”.

“Blended” marks the third comedy collaboration between stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, following their successful onscreen pairings in the hit romantic comedies “50 First Dates” and “The Wedding Singer.” She’s definitely his good luck charm, because aside from the requisite fart jokes and hit-to-the-groin moments, “Blended” is an enjoyable film.

After a disastrous blind date, single parents Lauren (Barrymore) and Jim (Sandler) agree on only one thing: they never want to see each other again. But when they each sign up separately for a fabulous family vacation with their kids, they are all stuck sharing a suite at a luxurious African safari resort for a week. Does familiarity breed contempt? Does this have the making of a bizarro “Brady Bunch”? It’s Hollywood, what do you think?

“Blended” also stars Joel McHale (NBC’s “Community”) as Lauren’s irresponsible ex-husband, Mark, and Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”) as her best friend, Jen; Kevin Nealon (“Weeds”) and Jessica Lowe (funnyordie’s “RobotDown”) as an overly romantic couple also vacationing at the resort. But, the real scene stealer is Terry Crews (“The Expendables 2”) as the resort’s over-the-top lounge singer. His performance is worth the price of admission.

Director Frank Coraci, who previously collaborated with Sandler and Barrymore on “The Wedding Singer” and directed Sandler in “The Waterboy” and “Click” manages to mostly reign in Sandler’s usual below-the-belt antics, and Barrymore holds her own against the broad comic, which is no small feat.

The Bottom Line: “Blended” isn’t great, by any means, but it is an enjoyable, and sentimental date movie, a laugh between the glut of superhero movies now in release. Don’t take the young ones, unless you are prepared to explain what happens when two rhinos love each other very much…

 Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual references. 1 hr. 57 min.

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