Plot: What’s it about?
When I think of Adam Sandler movies (I hesitate to use the word “films” when it comes to Sandler), I harken back to the mid to late 90’s. Why? Well that’s when he did some entertaining stuff. Not only in movies, but I still have (and listen to) some of his comedy CD’s. I know I’ve said this before, but Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore are two of my favorite movies and get at least a viewing or two a year. Sorry Casablanca, sad but true. And while there’s no doubt that Sandler has made a name for himself, I feel that the quality of his movies has been sacrificed in the past decade. We’ve seen him be dramatic in Punch Drunk Love, be more of a “man” in The Longest Yard and even show his sentimental side with Spanglish. But for whatever reason Sandler likes for he and his entourage to appear in goofy flicks like Grown Ups, Jack and Jill and now Blended. The catch with the latter is that it’s now the third collaboration between Sandler and Drew Barrymore and, no doubt, the filmmakers are trying to re-create the previous two with The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. No doubt you’re on the edge of your seat, let’s see if lighting can strike thrice!
Sandler plays Jim, a man who has lost his wife to Cancer and a father of three girls. We meet him on a blind date with Lauren (Drew Barrymore), whose husband (Joel McHale) was unfaithful. Jim is the manager of Dick’s Sporting Goods (one of the many product placements in the film) and Lauren a closet organizer (yes, really). They don’t hit it off. After randomly meeting in a drug store, he to buy “feminine products” for his daughter and she to buy an adult magazine for her son, their credit cards get swapped. This paves the way for them to meet again and after a series of events, it would seem that both sets of families are now off to Africa. As we might expect, the two families don’t exactly hit it off there and we’re treated to a myriad of mishaps (an ostrich ride gone awry, parasailing, etc.). But…wait! It seems there might be hope for Jim and Lauren after all…or not?
Ok, look, there’s no denying that Sandler and Barrymore have chemistry, but this movie wasn’t the way to showcase it. Director Frank Coraci who also helmed The Wedding Singer, is clearly trying to re-invent the 15 year old comedy, but he fails. Miserably. Granted, there are a few laugh out loud moments, but after seeing Sandler and his crew of regulars that now include Dan Patrick and Shaquille O’Neal, I just couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling. And while I don’t have the direct quote, I think Adam Sandler said in an interview that he made this movie because he wanted a vacation to South Africa. Is this the worst Adam Sandler movie? That’s debatable; he’s had a few lately that might fit the bill. If you want to see Barrymore and Sandler at their best, check out The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates – there’s very little, if any, redeeming content in this one.
Video: How’s it look?
The production for the film was split between Georgia and South Africa, so there is a lot of landscape in the movie (about it’s only redeeming quality) and the 1.85:1 AVC HD image showcases it beautifully. The first part of the film is what we’d expect of a romantic comedy, soft subtle colors and palette, though the scene in Hooters is a bit on the dark side. The movie really opens up when they get to Africa and we can see the landscape in full HD glory. Detail is spectacular, flesh tones on par and even with the cheesy CGI effects, I was pretty impressed with the way this looked. A fine effort from Warner.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The movie certainly isn’t an audio powerhouse, but it wasn’t really meant to be. By and large, it’s a dialogue-driven piece, though when the group gets to Africa there are some pretty robust effects that give a bit of spatial direction. The DTS HD Master Audio track sounds strong and rich, vocals are consistent with what we’d expect and I’m hard-pressed to find anything to really complain about. It delivers as expected – nothing more or less.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The bullet point list below might look impressive, but I assure you that there’s very little, if anything, of real substance. But let’s take a look nonetheless…
- Adam and Drew: Back Together Again – Though the movie was painful to watch, this is actually a bit entertaining as we get an interview with the stars of the film.
- Bella Thorne’s Makeover – As “Hilary” in the film, we see her become a little more plain jane.
- Deleted Scenes
- Georgia – We learn of the dual shoot in Georgia (the other half is in South Africa).
- Safari – The group goes on a safari.
- Animals – We see the different animals in Africa.
- Parasailing – We get some insight in the parasailing sequence – as someone who’s done it, it is pretty fun.
- Ostriches – Because…a movie needs more ostriches and hilarity ensues!
- Dick’s Customer Service – More product placement. Awesome.
- Herlihoops: Basketball Actor – Writer/Actor Tim Herlihy in a cameo in the film.
- Nickens – We see Terry Crews get into his character that he describes as the “Tom Jones” of Africa. Uh huh.
- Gag Reel
- DVD/Digital HD Copy