BY Jen T. Tuazon
I don’t know if it’s the deluge of negative reviews that lowered my expectations of the new comedy Blended, but I actually found this latest rom-com from Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore enjoyable enough.
In Blended, directed by Frank Coraci and written by Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera, single parents and reluctant daters Jim Friedman (Sandler) and Lauren Reynolds (Barrymore) end up hating each other after an unsuccessful blind date, only to find themselves, with their respective children in tow, stuck in a safari trip in Africa. Chaos then ensues as the the two families try to get along.
Granted, the movie can be faulted for a few awkwardly edited scenes, conspicuous product placements, and flat jokes at the expense of animals, but whatever bad there is in Blended does not make the movie bad beyond hope. (From the sea of negative reviews on Blended you’d think the movie is unwatchable, which sincerely puzzles me.) Here are five reasons I didn’t find Blended all that too awful to watch:
1. It’s actually funny.
Adam Sandler has always made me laugh, so I’m probably not the most objective assessor of the level of funny in Blended. That disclaimer aside, I still have to say that the movie honestly did make me laugh. A lot. And there weren’t even that many slapstick jokes by Sandler standards. Maybe the trick is to not take the movie too seriously. (Works every time!)
2. The kids
Expect some serious child labor in Blended as the kids do a lot of heavy lifting in the comedy department: from Frodo look-alike Braxton Beckham as Lauren’s eldest son Brendan to the unbelievably cute (and naughty) Alyvia Alyn Lind as Jim’s youngest daughter Lou, the movie’s child actors hold their own against seasoned comedians Sandler, Barrymore (well, she’s a funny actress anyway) Terry Crews, Kevin Nealon and Wendi McLendon-Covey. At times, the kids even steal the grown-up actors’ thunder! Special mention goes to Disney star Bella Thorne as boyish Hillary “Larry” Friedman. The basketball scene with her and Sandler is particularly hilarious.
3. Terry Crews and Shaq
Terry Crews, funny in literally every scene he’s in, is simply comedy gold. While Shaq is simply awesomesauce, like always.
4. Adorable Drew
After all these years, Barrymore’s sunny personality still makes it so hard to not like her on screen. Her laugh is still as infectious and her lisp still as adorable as we first heard it in E.T. And though she may seem ageless in Blended, she nevertheless fit the role of mother Lauren like a glove.
5. Adam and Drew together again
While Blended may not be in the league of The Wedding Singer, nor anywhere in the vicinity of 50 First Dates (one of the best rom-coms of all time!), there’s no denying there’s still chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore. Maybe not so much romantic chemistry as comedic chemistry, but chemistry nonetheless. They just seem so comfortable with each other, with the banter between them so easy and with Barrymore, unlike other leading ladies in Sandler’s movies, such an even match for the comedian. The pair may no longer convince as young star-crossed lovers, but they were every bit convincing as two adults looking for a second chance at love.
Overall, if you’re looking for a judicious way to spend your money, catching Blended in theaters may not be the wisest choice. But if you have the extra money, the extra time, and the extra need for some good old laughs, then go watch Blended on the big screen and allow yourself to laugh unashamedly. Thankfully, in the darkness of the movie theater, no one will judge you for still finding Adam Sandler funny.
Blended, distributed by Warner Bros., opens in Philippine cinemas June 11, 2014.