BLENDED – Review by Susan Granger

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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.” Read on…

A manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Jim (Adam Sandler) is a slovenly widower with three young 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 Hooter’s which, 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.

To refresh your memory, Drew Barrymore and Adam 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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.