HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Movie review: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore disappoint in Blended

Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 30, 2014
First Published: 11:22 IST(30/5/2014) | Last Updated: 14:22 IST(30/5/2014)

This romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore fails to get any of the key ingredients right - there is no romance, the gags are unfunny, it's poorly written and badly directed, say critics.

There was a time when Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together spelt romance, with a generous dose of laughter thrown in. In Frank Coraci's Blended, they just make you cringe and feel sorry for them. The critics are unequivocal on this one - avoid. If you do want to see Barrymore and Sandler in action, watch The Wedding Singer again.

Says Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicle in his review, "Badly made and poorly written, Blended is a rehash of Adam Sandler's 2011 comedy Just Go With It, only without Jennifer Aniston and without laughs. It not only gets the big things wrong. It gets the small, easy things wrong.

The primary reason being, the audience doesn't empathise with anything that is happening on screen. As La Salle goes to enumerate, "On several occasions, Sandler and Drew Barrymore are shown having a conversation. He says something, and she laughs uproariously ... but the audience watches in complete silence."

Another scene that La Salle points out is, "There's a key scene in which Barrymore walks into a room wearing a flattering dress that knocks everyone out ... except the dress isn't much, and she doesn't look any better in it than she does in anything else."

Ostensibly a romantic comedy, the film starkly lacks in romance. Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly writes, "The only thing exceptional about this third-time pairing of Sandler and Barrymore is how tone-deaf it is about romance. In fact, it hardly seems to believe in romance at all - the couple's big, gooey speech is all about how their kids come first."

Sandler also fails to deliver on what is his USP: his ability to get the laughs. David Edelstein of Vulture says, "Sandler fans will find the usual gross-out and smutty gags amid all this cloying wholesomeness: rhinos fornicating, blondes shaking their boobies, adolescents caught whacking off to porn. Blended isn't 3-D, but it feels like it: Sandler would piss out of the screen if he thought he could get a laugh. This is not his worst film, but it's his most offensive."

The film's main leads, also its star attraction, are also huge disappointments. As Edelstein says, "Sandler radiates self-absorption, but of the juvenile, fogbound kind that carries a touch of sadness: He's like the little boy who hits you because he can't figure out another way to express himself.  Paul Thomas Anderson captured that aspect of him in Punch-Drunk Love. And in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, Barrymore's radiant sweetness managed to cut through that fog and make him seem halfway human. The third time's not the charm, though. Barrymore starts out winningly, but soon resorts to phony peals of laughter at Sandler's winning quips and moist, cow eyes at his sheer paternal decency. I was embarrassed for her."

La Salle sums it up nicely, "There are not too many movies like Blended that make acting in motion pictures seem like a dispiriting activity. As a viewer, when I pass through unhappiness at sitting there to actual pity for the people on screen, something is very wrong."

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