Blended (2014) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

“Blended” is part old school Adam Sandler and new school Adam Sandler. It has the same dumb, pointless, physical humor, with the modern “family is everything, you’re nothing if you’re single” sentimentality that’s permeated like self righteous stink through his later comedies. To make the affair even more grating he teams up with Drew “nails on a chalkboard” Barrymore for a third time. The cynical side of me thinks that they teamed up again to complete a trilogy of pairings for a potential special edition release of their comedies. But the obvious seems to be Sandler re-visiting the well hoping for another hit. It’s just sad that never translates in to memorable entertainment. “Blended’ is a family oriented dramedy that’s never original, nor does it pose any sense of Sandler thinking outside the box in his early films.

In the day and age of single parents, and Gay parents should a guy buying tampons even be funny or shocking anymore? “Blended” is another excuse for Sandler to take a vacation as we’re forced to endure a thirty minute series of skits that are pieced together to resemble a fluid narrative. It’s all propping and foreshadowing for the inevitable trip single parents Jim and Lauren take when their petulant children whine about not going on vacation. They take the chance to opt for a cancelled African romantic getaway previously held by Lauren’s friend Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey steals scenes from Barrymore without effort). Oblivious to each other’s plans, Jim and Lauren end up in the same honeymoon family suite with their kids in one big hotel room. To add a hackneyed sense of irony to this glorified sitcom pilot, Jim is a man straddled with three adorable daughters he treats like boys.

Lauren has two young boys turning in to men she dotes over like girls. And lo and behold, they help each other understand their own children through various scenarios ranging from adorable (Jim’s middle daughter Espn can’t let go of her mom’s memory, opting to pretend she’s always beside her) to downright weird (Lauren’s oldest son has a weird fixation on his awkward babysitter). When the movie stops trying to be Adam Sandler ridiculous and instead enters in to a more family friendly dramedy, “Blended” can be tolerable. Sandler is wise enough to cast above average actors to portray characters Jim and Lauren’s children, and they grab the best moments in the entire run time. Alyvia Alyn Lind is especially adorable as Jim’s youngest daughter, who craves a mother figure, while Emma Furhmann is dealt a very touchy sub-plot that’s handled well. I also appreciated the great supporting performances from Kevin Nealon, Jessica Lowe, and Terry Crews who is hilarious as an African lounge singer.

That said, “Blended” is too bogged down in Barrymore and Sandler’s vanity to be even slightly worth recommending. The first half hour is excruciating, as Barrymore desperately tries for slapstick, while Sandler seems half asleep most of the time. They don’t benefit from the horrific script from Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera, which just shoots out flat one liner after flat one liner. Once the narrative actually gains momentum, “Blended” amounts to nothing more than lukewarm family dramedy that shies away from interesting themes about letting go of our loved ones, and generally just letting go, period. I wish “Blended” were more a family ensemble dramedy and not a Barrymore and Sandler vehicle that rips off of “Yours, Mine and Ours.” The two have chemistry, but by no means are they Bogey and Bacall. “Blended” is another in a line of fairly abysmal Adam Sandler vacation vehicles that never tries for depth, complexity, or even laughs. Can someone give Crews his own big budget comedy already?

Featured on the Blu-Ray release, there’s a three minute chapter on the Focus Point-like featurettes where Sandler and the crew scout African shooting locations. The two minute “Adam and Drew” explores Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore working together yet again. They at least they seem to enjoy each other. “Animals” is a four minute look at Sandler’s on-screen daughters looking at animals, “Parasailing” is a two minute look at Barrymore in the skies, “Ostriches” is a two minute segment on the Ostrich rodeo, “Bella Thorne’s Makeover” is a look at the movie’s failed attempt to make Bella Thorne homely. There’s the one minute “Herlihoops” of Tim Herlihy playing basketball, “Dick’s Customer Service” focusing on the scenes in the store with Sandler and Shaquille O’Neal, “Nickens” in which Terry Crews stays in character as the hilarious Nickens. There’s the three minute “Georgia” about filming in Gainesville, six minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes, and finally a six minute flat gag reel.