MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Adam Sandler as JIM
Drew Barrymore as LAUREN
Kevin Nealon as EDDY
Terry Crews as NICKENS
Wendi McLendon-Covey as JEN
Emma Fuhrmann as ESPN
Bella Thorne as HILARY
Alyvia Alyn Lind as LOU
Joel McHale as MARK
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Frank Coraci
BY KEVIN CARR
If there was any grand injustice to the 2014 summer movie season (aside from yet another “Transformers” movie making enough cash to justify another sequel), it’s that “Blended” fell somewhat flat with audiences.
I’m not saying that “Blended” was a fantastic movie, but it’s light years more enjoyable than many of Adam Sandler’s recent films like the “Grown Ups” movies, “Jack and Jill” or “That’s My Boy.” In fact, “Blended” brings back a certain charm that helped make the actor a household name in the early 2000s. It also reunites him with “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates” co-star Drew Barrymore, and they continue to work well together.
Of course, while “Blended” did not light up the box office, it wasn’t necessarily a flop, either… especially when you take into account its foreign box office which helped triple its production budget. In the end, “Blended” was a modest success, and hopefully its lackluster domestic performance doesn’t push Sandler back into “Grown Ups” territory too soon.
The story follows two families with single parents. Adam Sandler plays Jim, a widower working at a sporting goods store raising three girls and trying to connect with them as they get older. Drew Barrymore plays Lauren, a divorcee who is trying to raise two sons while keeping her organizing business afloat. Both jump at the opportunity to take a discounted South African vacation and end up in the same suite, having to pretend they are a blended family to keep up with appearances.
Now that it’s available on home video, I’m hoping it finds a better audience because it works well for a family movie night or even date night film. However, if you’re looking at it for family movie night, do realize that there are some decidedly PG-13 elements to the movie that might be a bit too dirty for younger viewers (though they will likely go over most kids’ heads).
In this sense, “Blended” actually strikes a decent balance between goofy family humor with the children and romantic comedy humor for the date night crowd. It manages to juggle a large number of characters and keep them tied to the same story. The film runs a bit long at just under two hours, but it still manages to keep everyone together and doesn’t get tedious.
Yes, “Blended” does come across as yet another opportunity for Sandler to wrap a cool vacation around shooting a movie, but by being directed by Frank Coraci instead of Dennis Dugan as well as reuniting with the accessible and funny Drew Barrymore, we end up with a decent film that bucks his recent trend of making utter garbage. And that is a relief.
The special features menu has a sizeable number of items, though none of them are terribly in-depth elements. Still, considering this is a family movie (with a few off-color jokes, of course), these are basically digestible features that you can poke around for a few more chuckles.
Most of the features are behind-the-scenes videos that show elements of pre-production or on-set antics, often referencing the history that people like Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Frank Coraci and Tim Herlihy have with each other.
These short features which run less only a few minutes each include a trip to the bush in “Safari,” real animal encounters in “Animals,” a behind-the-scenes look at “Parasailing,” the use of special effects in “Ostriches,” some on-set shenanigans with Shaq in “Dick’s Customer Service,” Tim Herlihy’s basketball prowess in “Herlihoops: Basketball Actor,” some on-set chemistry with Sandler and Barrymore in “Adam and Drew: Back Together Again,” the use of make-up in “Bella Thorne’s Makeover” and an in-character look at Terry Crews in “Nickens.”
Additional features include a gag reel, about seven minutes of deleted scenes which also include various alternative takes, and a look at shooting on location in Georgia.