Nothing you say or do will deter Adam Sandler from making no-brainer Adam Sandler films. Blended follows suit after a string of lowbrow films from Sandler’s lineup of Happy Madison titles. While the premise is still a no-brainer, it is more than tolerable with quite a few slapstick surprises aimed at young parents with stress levels going through the roof.

Paired for the third time, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore hit it off again, while regenerating that mushy charm from their previous outings in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Times have changed since those two films, so it is only fitting that they are now cast as single parents during the most crucial years of parenting. Sandler plays Jim, a widower with three young girls, while Barrymore plays Lauren, a single mother with two notorious boys. After a disastrous blind date, Jim and Lauren vow never to see each other again but a mix-up in holiday reservations bring them together at the beautiful Sun City resort in South Africa. What happens next is anyone’s guess but the farce that ensues offers a few laughs even if these gags lack an iota of originality.

Comprising of 70 percent Adam Sandler goofiness, 20 percent marketing for Sun City, and 10 percent romantic comedy, Blended turns out to be 100 percent family fun as long as kids don’t take this film too seriously. That being said, I suspect kids these days are smarter than those characterised in this film. And they should be. Despite several jabs at early parenting (or bad parenting, in this case), the central message reiterates the fact that kids are growing up faster and smarter than they used to a generation ago. The repeated joke, of course, is aimed at parents who find themselves in awkward situations; typically, when kids reach puberty. For all other situations, Sandler’s Jim has a remedial quip – “You have to give 99 percent of your life to your kids and keep just 1 percent for yourself”. Easier said than done? Allow Jim to show you how it’s done.

Having first worked with Barrymore and Sandler in The Wedding Singer and the latter’s top hit The Waterboy, director Frank Coraci opens another can of lampoon mayhem with Blended. Only this can is open on both ends. Out the top end is the aforementioned satirical take on 40-something parenting issues. Out the bottom end is a date-night movie for parents who have forgotten what it was like to go for a date-night movie. Lining that can is a high level of crude humour that has become a standard in Happy Madison films, but in a million ways more effective than allowing Seth McFarlane to be Seth McFarlane. What works here is the contribution from everyone including Wendi McLendon-Covey as Lauren’s rubber-mouth business partner, Bella Thorn as Jim’s eldest daughter who looks like a boy, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lauren’s toddler (with an uncanny resemblance to Barrymore in E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982)  and the show stealing Terry Crews in Sun City.

For a film that I feared would be another Happy Madison wrecking ball, Blended is neither pulsating nor a flat liner. Even if the story is pretty lame, everyone just seems to be having fun and part of that fun radiates into the audience. And if you still find some of the jokes bland, take it with a pinch of salt and just blend in. Pun intended.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.