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IN SHORT: Less than average Sandler. [Rated PG-13. 117 minutes]
Yours Cranky isn't exactly sure how substituting biologically accurate names for genitalia for the usual liberal use of the F-word is enough to avoid an "R" rating, but it is. Then again, we know we are not the audience for old school Adam Sandler humor. The pair of 16 years old young women sitting behind us were laughing hysterically. They were also describing the jokes that were about to happen on screen.
Simple meaning: If you are expecting Blended to evoke the same kind of wonderful feelings that The Wedding Singer did, that attempt comes far too late t0 spare you from the usual Sandler, uh, stuff. Those craving a return to old form, no, not quite there. But there is a substitution that may work for you. But Cranky must get some stuff done first . . .
Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) hasn't had a date since before her train wreck of a marriage to a jerk named Mark (Joel McHale) mercifully ended. Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) hasn't had a date since his wife died of cancer. The blind date which kicks off Blended will have you, the audience, wishing for death as well. It is a fine art to squeeze humor from terrible situations. The "art" of the first dozen or so minutes of Blended is just as terrible as Jim's idea to have the date at the local Hooters restaurant. Jim doesn't think it's a bad idea -- there, apparently, the man is a star. Jim just doesn't think much. Then again, Lauren doesn't give him too much to think about. [no email about that being a sexist crack. It's supposed to be.]
The fix up is the idea of Lauren's best bud and business partner Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the current (though probably temporary) love of Jen's life, her boss Dick Theodopolous (Dan Patrick). Neither is really important to the film. We're just filling space . . .
That pair had made plans to travel to the resort of Sun City, South Africa [Cranky's link to this, below] but things didn't work out. In one of the better scenes early on, one that gave us hope, both Lauren and Jen are given the trip their particular friend was to take. Yes, they don't discover the real deal until it's too late. Yes, of course, they share a suite. The visual jokes work and things are still good. Animals mate with ferocity and then the kids take center stage. Lauren has two: Brendan (Braxton Beckham) is still a kidlet and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein) is about fifteen minutes from thinking about girls. Not that mom is about to let him, or accept that he's ready to grow up. As for Jim, he has three girls named Larry (Hilary, actually; played by Bella Thorne), Espn (yeah,like that one; Emma Fuhrmann) and Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind). "Larry" gets the focus but not for why and not winding up where you'd think (from this description).
The kids get most of the attention while Barrymore gets the physical gags, all of which have been spoiled by the advertising. IMHO, of course. All the gags which populate this film are so old hat . . . and Cranky is finally ready to say it: yeah, we're officially old . . . that we knew 'em before they hit. The young ladies behind us, as we wrote in the first paragraph, knew 'em too. They loved 'em. Probably because they haven't been watching similar stuff for way too many decades. But then, you already know what is going to happen in this story and, indeed, it will.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Blended, he would have paid . . .
Blended would be a painful dateflick for us, if we could get a date.
As for Sun City: the place was created by the apartheid regime of South Africa and tried to sell itself as an independent, racially progressive resort. That means "a place to suck the dollars out of the pockets of travelling Americans and surreptitiously pump life in to the South African economy". E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt cut one of the earliest multi-star records, "(I Ain't Gonna Play) Sun City" to call attention to apartheid and the Sun City deceit. Yours truly wrote and produced the network radio special centered on the song (and others from an album Van Zandt packaged). We take no credit for anything. We're just saying what we did. We were glad to do it.
That the actors portraying Sun City natives strutted about like Steppin Fetchit (google it/ him) did not sit well with us at all.
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