The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>Blended</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Blended

Following a disastrous blind date, two single parents find themselves sharing a vacation with their kids.

Directed by: Frank Coraci
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews, Joel McHale

Single mother Lauren (Barrymore) finds herself on the blind date from hell when obnoxious single father Jim (Sandler) takes her to a Hooters restaurant, drinks her beer when she leaves for the restroom, and displays more interest in the obscure sports showing on the establishment's screens than on his date. The two agree they have no future together and agree to part ways, but a set of coincidences results in Lauren and Jim posing as a couple in order to take their kids (Jim's three daughters and Lauren's two sons) on a trip to South Africa.
In the recent documentary When Jews Were Funny, film-maker Alan Zweig investigates whether the current generation of American Jews are as naturally humourous as their elders. The conclusion is that they aren't, and the reason given is because the best comedy comes from the oppressed, those who find themselves excluded from the upper tiers of mainstream society. As Jews have become integrated into American culture, Zweig suggests, they've lost their sense of humour, which they no longer rely on as a defence mechanism.
Adam Sandler would seem to be living proof of Zweig's theory. The richer he's become, the more his comedy has suffered. A Jewish comic, Sandler's humour is rarely self deprecating, more often based around attacking others in a smug, solipsistic manner. He might point to Groucho Marx as a precedent for this technique but Marx made sure the subjects of his attacks were several rungs further up the social ladder than himself, hanging snobs and bigots out to dry. Sandler, on the other hand, finds himself on the top rung of the social ladder, urinating on those below. Contrary to popular opinion, sarcasm isn't the lowest form of humour; bullying is.
Not just the worst film of the year so far but also the most offensive, Blended has a pop at the laziness and poor hygiene of "Africans" (the film-makers seem to believe the continent consists of just one big nation), and at the over-sensitive nature of women who feel uncomfortable in a restaurant staffed by impossibly busty waitresses. The movie suggests that a family can only be made whole by the presence of a mother and father. In one bizarrely misjudged scene, Sandler's 15-year-old daughter is given a makeover by Barrymore that transforms her from a budding basketball star into a potential street-worker. 
Women need to know their place, the film proclaims like some beer-can crushing rube on a night at the bowling alley, and should be happy to find a man, even if he's as obnoxious as the one played by Sandler here. I can't think of a rom-com couple less worth rooting for than this one. Groucho would not approve.

Eric Hillis