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Still shot from the movie: Blended.

Blended

Jim Friedman and Lauren Reynolds (Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore) meet on a blind date. Although the experience is one neither wants to repeat, the pair are forced to endure each other's company again when they and their children end up booked on the same family vacation package in Africa.

Overall Grade: C
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: C+
Language: D+
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Release Date: 23 May 2014
Run Time: 117
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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In-Depth Review

Adam Sandler hauls out his tried and true formula for his latest Happy Madison Production Blended. He even reunites with Drew Barrymore, his co-star from The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. If Sandler is lucky, he’ll bring home bucket loads of cash from ticket sales and redeem himself after the flop That’s My Boy in which he also took on the role of a father figure.

In Blended, Sandler plays Jim, a single dad with three daughters, Hillary (Bella Thorne), Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Espn (Emma Fuhrmann). Yes, number three is named after the sports channel. He buys the girls’ clothes at Dick’s Sporting Goods where he is a store manager and takes them to his barber for their haircuts. He’s trying to be the best dad he can, but there are some things he just hasn’t figured out—like which feminine hygiene products to buy for his oldest daughter.

Barrymore plays Lauren, a single mom with two boys. Her oldest, Brendan (Braxton Beckham), is a preteen with raging hormones who pins a picture of his babysitter’s head onto a centerfold from a men’s magazine and makes creepy comments about how hot his mom is. Her youngest, Jake (Zak Henri), throws tantrums on the ball diamond, runs through the house with a burning t-shirt on a pole and is completely incapable of controlling himself.

When Lauren and Jim meet on a blind date at a Hooters restaurant we know where this relationship will eventually end up despite their bad beginning. But the disastrous first encounter means we have to cover a lot of ground before love blossoms between these two socially uncomfortable adults.

Luckily for them—and their children—the opportunity to get to know each other comes in the form of a vacation in Africa at a resort hosting a weeklong event for blended families. The scheduled activities include a safari, sports, spa treatments and a couple’s massage. While the rubdown avoids the kind of sexual depictions you might expect, the rest of the film is well oiled with crude sexual comments and crass jokes involving everything from self-pleasuring to animals engaged in sex. The film also has a running joke about a musical group at the hotel (headed up by a pec-popping Terry Crews) that interjects themselves on the screen at the most predictable times with inane song lyrics and gyrating groin movements.

Sandler’s reputation for lowbrow humor remains intact in this production, although he stays just a step above the juvenile antics and locker room jokes in Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. He is the hero as usual—in this case a father trying to remain strong despite the loss of his wife and his children’s mother. And there is nothing like the word cancer to bring seriousness to a screenplay. The movie also addresses an issue more and more people are facing, that of blending families. But while the script is bold enough to make assertions like two parents are better than one, girls need moms, boys need dads, and being boringly reliable as a parent is good, it isn’t gutsy enough to leave out the glut of crude jokes and make this a family film the entire family could attend.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Violence: A child runs through the house carrying a pole that has on the end a flaming t-shirt. A character is shot in the face with the contents of a fire extinguisher. A character makes a comment about a man shooting himself. A boy pinches his brother’s chest. A woman repeatedly and unintentionally hits her son’s head on the wall while carrying him. Characters make mean comments about a child at a ballgame. Characters are kicked or hit in the groin. Lions eat a baby animal off screen. A woman steals a dress. A character is punched. Other depictions of slapstick and non-graphic violence are included.

Sexual Content: Characters make comments about waitresses at Hooters. Characters are accused of cheating on their spouses. A girl attempts to make her chest look larger by stuffing her bra. A boy tapes a picture of his babysitter’s face to a centerfold in a men’s magazine. A woman jiggles her breasts on numerous occasions. Depictions and comments about homosexuals are included. An animal mounts another. A dancer gyrates his groin suggestively. Couples kiss passionately and occasionally fondle one another. A giraffe sticks its tongue in a man’s mouth. Men ogle a woman. Several men are shown grabbing their groins. A woman throws her bra at a performer on stage. A bedroom contains objects used for sexual pleasure, such as a pole dancer’s pole and vibrating bed. The script contains numerous crass sexual comments about masturbation, body parts and sex acts. Crude bodily functions are portrayed.

Language: The script includes one depiction of a crude hand gesture and at least three other partial uses of a strong sexual expletive. Several other crude sexual expressions are heard, along with sexual comments, slang, and anatomical terms. Numerous terms of Deity, some mild and moderate profanities, and vulgar expressions are also used.

Alcohol / Drug Use:A nervous man guzzles down a beer during a date. Characters drink with dinner and in other social settings. A woman makes reference to a male enhancement drug. A character recommends drugs for a hyperactive child.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

How does the death of Jim’s wife make him a more sympathetic hero?

Lauren’s former spouse takes their son out for ice cream despite her asking him to help the boy to avoid consuming sugar. Why does this dad choose to be the fun parent instead of the responsible one? What lessons does this teach a child in a divorced family? Is it difficult for one parent to always have to be heavy on discipline while the other does light, entertaining activities with the children?

What does Lauren offer to Jim’s daughters and Jim to Lauren’s sons that they can’t provide for their own children? Why is Lauren’s friend Jen so hesitant to date a man who has children? What complications do children bring to a new relationship? What sacrifices do adults need to make for the sake of the children?

What does Jim mean when he says a parent needs to be boringly reliable when it comes to their children? Do Jim and Lauren portray this commitment in their parenting roles?

Video alternatives

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore also starred together in the romantic comedy 50 First Dates. The challenges of blending familiesare depicted in the films Cheaper By the Dozen, Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) and the 2005 remake Yours, Mine and Ours.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Blended

Release Date: 26 August 2014

Blended releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet) with the following special features:

- Adam and Drew: Back Together Again

- Bella Thorne’s Makeover

- Deleted Scenes

- Gag Reel

- 8 Additional Featurettes

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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