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Saturday 7 December 2019

Film review: Blended

Cert 12A

Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Emma Fuhrmann and Braxton Beckham in Blended
Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Emma Fuhrmann and Braxton Beckham in Blended

Padraic McKiernan

TALK about love at first slight. It's said that love is sweeter the second time around but in Blended, Adam Sandler's latest attempt to disprove the notion that his movies are the place where comedy goes to die, it starts out fairly sour. A disastrous first date provides the departure point to this extended exercise in coma-inducing comedy.

Sandler and Drew Barrymore star as Jim and Lauren, two single parents dipping their respective toes back in the dating scene after an extended absence. Jim lost his wife to cancer, and is thus sole parent to three cute daughters, while Lauren lost her husband to serial adultery and is struggling to cope with the demands of two testosterone-addled sons.

Having failed to spark on their first date, a second opportunity presents itself when a random meeting in a shopping aisle leads to a sense that, this time, there might be a mutual attraction beneath the mutual contempt. The title is a reference to the chemistry and potential chaos created when second relationship families are "blended" so no prizes for guessing what happens next.

Faster than you can say isn't this The Brady Bunch for slow learners, destiny intervenes and it's a case of destination Sun City, South Africa, as these two fractured families are booked on the same dream-resort vacation. Naturally, it isn't long before the screen is alive with exotic African sights and sounds that include, alas, the noise made by the bottom of the comedy barrel receiving another Sandler-styled scraping.

Those familiar with his back catalogue will know that Sandler has made an art form out of targeting the lowest common denominator and Blended bears all the hallmarks of another direct hit. There are enough pratfalls and paunchy punchlines to ensure Sandler fans with a mental age in the low double digits (are there any other type?) are unlikely to feel short-changed. Comedy connoisseurs, however, will need to think about adding some Prozac to their popcorn. Blended? Blanded more like.

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