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Originally published Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 8:05 AM

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‘Blended’: Comedy mix goes flat with Adam Sandler

A 1.5-star movie review of “Blended,” an Adam Sandler comedy that would have been better without Sandler.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Review 1.5 stars

‘Blended,’ with Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews. Directed by Frank Coraci, from a screenplay by Ivan Menchell and Clare Ser. 119 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language. Several theaters.

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These days, Adam Sandler is a bottle of beer that’s lost all its bubbles — cheap, mass-produced domestic beer.

So let’s focus on what works in his latest, “Blended,” because he sure doesn’t.

Drew Barrymore, in her third pairing with Sandler, brings energy and conviction to her performance as Lauren, a mother of two thrown together on an African vacation with this lump she met on the Blind Date from Hell — a blind date at Hooters.

Wendi McLendon-Covey, playing her best friend Jen, delivers a comically furious turn; and Terry Crews steals the movie as the MC and singer of an African vocal group at the Sun City resort where Jim (Sandler), the sad sporting-goods salesman, and Lauren, the professional closet organizer, and their five kids end up in an absurdly contrived joint vacation/safari.

We are deep into the “family comedy” stage of Sandler’s working life, families where the kids cuss and rhinos hump, where Jim urinating long and loudly outside of a tent is played for a laugh.

Jim’s a widower, raising three emotionally stunted daughters to be pseudo-jocks, like himself. They need a mom. Lauren is newly divorced, with a maddeningly rude teen and tantrum-tossing tween , both of whom need a father figure.

Every setup is an eye-roller. Gags and one-liners that would be discarded in a better comedy are trotted out and then underlined here.

And in the middle of it all is Sandler, aimlessly going through the motions.



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