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Blended

By DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published May 23, 2014 at 2:15 a.m.

lauren-drew-barrymore-and-jim-adam-sandler-are-inevitably-and-cutely-drawn-together-again-in-blended-another-happy-madison-production-directed-by-frank-coraci

Lauren (Drew Barrymore) and Jim (Adam Sandler) are inevitably and “cutely” drawn together again in Blended, another Happy Madison production directed by Frank Coraci.

Blended

71 Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews, Bella Thorne, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Joel McHale

Director: Frank Coraci

Rating: PG-13, for crude and sexual content, and language

Running time: 117 minutes

There's no point in complaining Adam Sandler doesn't make movies for critical love. He'd go broke if he did.

Instead, a more reasonable complaint is that he has spent so long reaching for the lowest common denominator that he has forgotten about the "common" part and is merely aiming for the low.

Sandler's current audience seems not to be viewers wanting little more than a good laugh, but people who:

• Crave spotting the name "Sandler" running throughout the closing credits

• Thrill to the sight of fellow Saturday Night Live alumni and other Sandler cronies making requisite appearances (Look! It's Kevin Nealon!)

• Marvel at the most blatant product placement imaginable (Hooters, Dick's Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart, et al. get plugs)

• Gaze in awe at pointless celebrity cameos

• Believe the crotch kick is the pinnacle of hilarity

• Lose sleep at the lack of urine gags in today's films

For everyone else, Sandler's latest Blended is the sort of romantic comedy that makes coupling seem like a waste of time. Again, he's teamed with Drew Barrymore and director Frank Coraci. It's a sad reminder of how much more delight the trio achieved with The Wedding Singer. The innocent charm of the previous movie has been replaced by a sense of smugness and sloth. If the earlier movie had heart, Blended concentrates on other body parts.

Sandler stars as Jim, a widower with three troubled daughters. Barrymore plays Lauren, a woman whose mania for organization has led her to a career of cleaning out rich people's closets. She's also got two high-maintenance boys. Jim and Lauren can't stand each other, but because they drive the same brand of minivan and take the same condiments with their coffee, they're meant to be together.

Sure.

About the only imagination to be found in Blended is that the bickering couple who keep running into each other wind up sharing an African vacation. Sadly, Coraci and screenwriters Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera do little more than rehash the scenes where Sandler bonded with youngsters in Just Go With It. It's a shame these folks set a tale on another continent and come up with sloppy gags involving animals mating.

One of the more baffling sequences involves casting South African cricketer Dale Steyn as a cricket coach at the resort where Jim and Lauren are staying. Steyn is a world-class athlete, but if you don't know who he is, the joke is lost and really isn't that funny to begin with.

MovieStyle on 05/23/2014

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