Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore once again provide uncanny on-screen chemistry for the audience in their new film, Blended.
Sandler and Barrymore first worked together in the 1998 film The Wedding Singer. They were reunited in 2004 for their film 50 First Dates. Their third film together features the two actors as single parents, forced on a vacation together while posing as a blended family.
In the film, Barrymore plays Lauren, the mother of two boys who recently settled a divorce from her cheating ex-husband. Sandler portrays Jim, a father to three girls whose wife died from cancer.
After a disastrous blind date, the couple meets again—accompanied by their children—on a family trip in Africa, which was set up by mutual friends.
I enjoyed this film immensely. Walking into the theater, I expected another sappy love story at the hands of Barrymore and Sandler. I was quite surprised when not only did the film surpass my expectations, but it gave a realistic look at the relationships in blended families.
Some antics of the characters were unbelievable, which is to be expected from comedian Sandler.
With the new friends the families make in Africa to the entertaining African safari, the trip itself seems a bit irrational. But, the relationships and dynamics of the characters more than make up for the cheesy comedy.
One aspect of the film that I really enjoyed was the setting. The movie, which was actually filmed in Africa, was able to capture many of the astounding sights of the country. If anything, this movie was free promotion for African travel agencies.
I also really admire how the filmmakers chose to take on Jim’s middle daughter, Espn. With the loss of her mother, Espn takes to imagining that her mother is still with her, including talking to her and providing empty seats for her mom to sit at.
As the film progresses, Espn is able to come out of her shell and comes to terms with the fact that her mother is gone. With the help of Lauren and Jim, she realizes that she does not need to forget about her mom, but she must allow herself to let go in order to live.
The young actress who portrays her, Emma Fuhrmann, is able to portray Espn with just the right amount of childlike vulnerability to make her believable.
All in all, I would give this movie a four out of five stars. Though some of the antics of the characters were cheesy and unnecessary, the majority of the film was able to depict the familial dynamics of modern day blended families.
I give it: 4/5 stars
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