There have been a number of screen couples over the years that have successfully made fans happy with their frequent appearances together. Who could not love Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn or William Powell and Myrna Loy? If those names are too distant for you to remember how about Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler? It's hard to believe they've only done two movies together before adding their newest BLENDED. Forget the pans the critics hoisted on this film this past summer, this is one hilarious movie. So much so that I saw it twice in the theaters and once so far on DVD.
Barrymore plays Lauren, a divorced mother with two young rambunctious boys who goes on perhaps the worst first date with Jim, a single father raising three young girls. How bad a date? Jim chooses Hooters for their first time out. Things go terribly wrong from their.
As Lauren relates this to her co-worker and best friend Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) (the pair own a closet organizing business), it was the worst night possible. Unfortunately Jen is having much better luck in the romance department since her newest beau wants to take her on a trip to Africa. A few days later things take a turn for the worse when Jen tells Lauren she turned down the trip and is thinking of breaking up with her new boyfriend because he wanted to take along all of his kids as well. Of course Lauren thinks this may be just what she and her boys need, a vacation away from it all, so she asks Jen if she can go in their place.
As this is going on, Jim is relaying the same description of the date to his co-worker Doug (Shaquille O'Neal). The two of them work at Dick's Sporting Goods with Jim being one of the best workers in the company. We get a glimpse of his oldest daughter when she stops by, mistaken by a customer as a boy since Jim tends to dress his daughters that way and pushing them to be in more male dominated sports. When Jim learns of his boss's canceling his trip to Africa (yes, he's Jen's new boyfriend), he calls Dick up to see if he can take over the trip while paying what he can. Of course both parties tell their respective friends no problem.
When both sets of families turn up at the high class resort in Africa, their surprised to see one another their. While the families don't know each other Lauren and Jim definitely do. But rather than argue over who stays, they decided to make the best of things and pretend to be the happy family booked for the vacation. Now if they can just stand one another for that amount of time.
We're presented with a mother with two sons lacking a male figure, a father with three daughters missing their mother and lacking a female to influence them in the ways of being a girl. There you have the set up for what is to come. Sure we know up front that this is a chance for all parties to find a nice mix. It's the fulfillment of the potential here that will either make this movie work or fall flat on its face. For myself I thought they did an excellent job, making me laugh, cry and be touched before the end of the film.
I've said before that the best way to tell an actor is good is when you believe them in the role they are playing. I believed that of everyone involved here. And while the leads might take center stage the person who steals the show is Terry Crews as Nickens, the host and entertainment figure at the resort. There wasn't a time when he appeared on screen that I didn't find myself laughing out loud.
There were two reasons I think this movie took such a beating from critics. The first was that it got lost in the shuffle of the summer movies coming out, appearing against some major blockbuster titles, and didn't make as much as expected. Sure it did well but when figures don't reach astronomical highs they consider it a flop. It doesn't matter if it made its money back or not. The second was that this movie isn't high drama or explosive action. It's a simple romantic movie that the entire family can enjoy. I find critics tend to slam those sorts of films unless the name Disney is attached or an animal is the center focus of the film.
There are tons of moments in this movie that had me roaring. As I said I enjoyed it enough that four days after seeing it the first time I was back again. And I enjoyed it as much then as I did the first. The same was true when watching it on DVD. If you're a fan of either actor, if you enjoy family comedies, then please give this one a watch. I'm betting you'll do as I did and add it to your collection. I know when I'm down it will be one to pull off the shelf and watch again.