May 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Review: Family comedy 'Blended' is just not smooth enough

Adam Sandler stars as a widower who takes his kids to Africa in 'Blended.' (Warner Bros.)

Seasons pass, weather patterns change and Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore make movies together.

After previously pairing in “The Wedding Singer” (1998) and “50 First Dates” (2004), Sandler and Barrymore are back together in “Blended,” the story of two single parents coming together while on vacation in Africa. Yes, Africa. Sandler movies have a tendency to be set in exotic locales that double as vacation spots, and he already did Hawaii in “50 First Dates” and “Just Go With It” (as well as “Punch Drunk Love”). Don’t be surprised if “Grown Ups 3” unfolds in Bora Bora.

That old Sandler-Barrymore charm is harder to come by in “Blended,” and the script (by Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera) seems to have taken a backseat to the crew’s travel itinerary. It would have been more fun to watch Sandler and Barrymore, as themselves, go on a safari instead of going through the motions of the clunky script.

Sandler plays Jim, a widower with three girls he treats like boys (he refers to his oldest daughter Hilary, played by Bella Thorne, as “Larry”). Barrymore is Lauren, a divorced mother of two boys. They go on a disastrous date early on, but through some shenanigans that aren’t worth explaining, they end up on vacation together in Africa. And it turns out they have more in common than they first thought.

The laughs are sporadic and the supposedly tender moments are as heartwarming as a Hot Pocket. However, the great Terry Crews swoops in and steals scenes as a hotel singer/Greek chorus, and his wild eyes and madcap energy are a saving grace.

The next time Sandler and Barrymore book a movie-vacation, they should make sure to get Crews a ticket, too.

'Blended'

GRADE: C

Rated PG-13 For crude and sexual content, and language

Running time: 117 minutes

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