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Susan Granger's review of 'Blended'

Published 11:40 am, Saturday, May 31, 2014
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Out of curiosity, I looked up the definition of the verb "blend": "To combine so that the separate things mixed together cannot be distinguished." I guess that's truth in advertising for this innocuous romantic comedy that traces its inception back to TV's "The Brady Bunch."

A manager at Dick's Sporting Goods, Jim (Adam Sandler) is a slovenly widower with three daughters. Bubbly Lauren (Drew Barrymore) is an uptight divorcee with two sons who runs a closet-organizing service with her best friend Jen (Wendi McKlendon-Covey). In the film's opening scene, they're on a blind date at Hooters that, predictably, is disastrous, despite their matching white minivans.

After agreeing never to speak to one another again, these Connecticut single parents "meet cute" at a drug store, where Jim's buying tampons for his teen while Lauren's replacing her teen's girlie magazine, which she ripped up. Then, because of a credit card mix-up, they coincidentally wind up at a fabulous South African safari resort, where they're forced to share the same suite for a week. That's the awkwardly laborious set-up. Their respective broods include hormonal teens (Disney Channel star Bella Thorne and Braxton Beckham) with variously troubled moppets (Kyle Red Silverstein, Emma Fuhrmann and Alyuvia Alyn Lind). Among the other vacationers are Kevin Nealon with jiggly Jessica Lowe as his young, trophy wife and Zak Henril as his teenage son, along Abdoulaye N'gom as the resort's social director and Terry Crews as its Greek Chorus.

Barrymore and Sandler have teamed up twice times before: "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and "50 First Dates" (2004). Those films were far better than this drivel.

Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera script formulaically -- by the numbers -- and it's cartoonishly directed by Frank Coraci ("The Wedding Singer," "The Waterboy") with wildlife action that includes an ostrich ride and rhinos copulating. But the overall production suffers from ineptly focused photography, mismatched edits and badly synced dialogue.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Blended" is an indistinguishable 4, a forgettable, if family-friendly farce.