Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are back in another family friendly rom-com that feels more like a marketing focus group exercise than an actual movie.

It’s not a direct quote, but the film seems to be saying, “The Wedding Singer was 12 years ago and we all have a few extra pounds, a couple of kids, and an ex- or two. Ain’t that cute?”

Not that a bit of nostalgia is a bad thing, but the marketing play for the older crowd with BLENDED families of their own was certainly on the minds of all involved (it might also have something to do with Modern Family being so popular). The result is a light rom-com that is modern in its sensibilities, but extremely traditional in terms of story. There’s no point in the film where you wonder how it’s all going to work out.  It feels like an extended episode of a low tier sit-com.

The general conceit is that Adam and Drew are set up on a blind date. How novel. Barrymore is nursing her wounds from a cheating hubby (a very out-of-place Joel McHale of the recently canceled Community) and Sandler is still grieving the loss of his wife to cancer. Both are raising children on their own. Of course, the date is a disaster and they both try to wash their hands of it.

A turn of events causes both fractured families to share an African resort/adventure vacation – hotel rooms and all. Why Africa? I have no idea. I am assuming that Sandler wanted to see Africa (much like Ocean’s 12, a film that feels more like European vacation footage rather than its own narrative). You could set this story anywhere.

Once the premise is established, formula kicks in, and exactly what you would expect to happen, happens.

There are some laughs, mostly thanks to Terry Crews’s (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) singing and dancing as he commands a simplistic Greek chorus that repeatedly explains exactly what the characters are feeling or doing.

You know, just in case you found the movie hard to follow.

Sometimes a predictable flick with familiar faces is just what the day calls for. In this way, Blended does the job. I do feel it is my duty to tell you that this film, at best, is a Redbox, Netflix or maybe even matinee price event. Hauling the whole family out and slapping down sixty bucks – or whatever a night at the movies costs you and your family – is not acceptable.

Save that cash for something more substantial.

2/10

About The Author

Tom Lucas has been an Orlando resident for the past four years. Now that he owns a house here, he plans to make the best of it. He is also the author of Leather to the Corinthians.