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Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kevin Nealon, Bella Thorne.
Running time: 117 minutes
Released: May 23 (UK & Ireland)
ADAM Sandler is a comedian-turned-actor who, throughout the duration of his long career, many people have loved to hate.
But some of his greatest cinematic successes, and the films in which people have found him most palatable, have been his collaborations with Hollywood royalty Drew Barrymore.
Now, they have teamed up again for Blended, guided once more by Frank Coraci, the director who brought them together for the first time in 1998’s The Wedding Singer.
This inanely charming film deserves not to sink under the weight of the new X-Men movie, with which it will compete for box office.
Blended follows the same pattern, minus a specific 1980s soundtrack. It once again combines ‘dumb’ with ‘com’, and adds a little bit of ‘rom’ – and somehow comes up with something warm and often quite winning.
Barrymore plays an uptight divorced mum of two boys who meets Sandler’s widowed father of three girls on a blind date. It all goes disastrously wrong, but the pair meet again on a late night mission to help their kids before, in a laughably implausible plot development, they all end up sharing the same amazing holiday to a luxury South African resort (Sun City’s incredible Palace of the Lost City).
Thanks to the performances, in amongst the silliness and ridiculous set-pieces (a monkey band, Barrymore’s parascending adventure and so on) there are some lovely scenes, a few of which might bring a tear to the eye.
The five children, Hilary (Bella Thorne), Espn (Emma Fuhrmann), Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind), Brendan (Braxton Beckham) and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein), are, across the board, fantastic and their individual plot arcs reap constant little rewards.
Luhrmann in particular breaks hearts in the tender scene where she discusses her fear of forgetting her late mother.
Elsewhere, there are cameos from The Wedding Singer’s Alexis Arquette and Allen Covert’s Ten Second Tom from 50 First Dates - plus Sandler’s wife and eldest daughter - to enjoy, in addition to bonkers but infectious musical contributions from the resort’s rather demented singer and his backing vocalists.
Go along for the ride and take it all with a pinch of salt, and you might end up enjoying this one rather a lot.