By Craig Martin
New on Blu-Ray this week is “Blended,” a romantic-comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in which the two portray single parents who meet as they bring their children to the same African resort on two separate vacations. A romance begins to bloom during their adventures in and around the resort. It is Sandler and Barrymore’s third foray into the genre together. Their other two films, “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates,” were some of Sandler’s best received films. I was a fan of both. So, when I heard director Frank Coraci was going to be on board for Blended, I was quite excited.
Coraci is one of two directors who collaborates with Sandler on a regular basis (the other being Dennis Dugan). Now, there is a huge difference between the two “Sandler directors.” Dugan is lowest common denominator with such awful, unfunny films as “Grown Ups,” “Jack and Jill,” and “Just Go with It;” whereas most of Coraci’s team ups with Sandler have been better films. “Click” was downright heartbreaking and touching, and “The Wedding Singer” was a huge success that spurred on a Broadway version, as well.
So going into Blended I was expecting something more in depth and heartfelt. What I got was Dennis Dugan in a Frank Coraci costume. “Blended” took everything that was great about Barrymore and Sandler’s on screen relationship from their prior two films and turned it into a one trick blue humor fest. I was extremely disappointed by Coraci because I know he can tell Sandler is more than a clown. However in “Blended” not only is Sandler cast as one, everyone else is. All of the characters are loud, pointless, unfunny people trying to make immature people laugh with the same tired jokes that have been around since the dawn of jokes.
There’s a problem with everyone involved in a film that allows jokes the caliber of “Africans are tribal dancing, drum circle having, hut living, backwards people” and who treat women as nothing but props for the men’s story to be furthered. Now I am by no means a “Social Justice Warrior,” but I do get annoyed that these old cliches have not been surpassed in this day and age. There was one scene in particular that made me viscerally upset, where Sandler’s daughter went through a “transformation” to make her beautiful, and all that happened was that her hair was let down and her glasses were taken off. That was a joke that has been spoofed and spoofed over and over, and keeps up a ridiculous closed minded stigma of what beauty is, and to see it used in a serious manner in “Blended” was unneeded and pointless.