Blended

A Free Soul Movie

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Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in Blended

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Adam Sandler‘s probably wasn’t too good. The funny man’s (sort of? I guess he’s still funny sometimes?) latest box office outing, Blended, which tantalizingly re-teamed him with his very own Meg Ryan surrogate, Drew Barrymore, and at least hinted at the possibility of personal and professional growth through a more adult and family-friendy plotline (“they are bllllending”) than we are used to seeing from the actor, didn’t do so well at the box office. Turns out, going up against films like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla (and even Neighbors, which did make less than Blended but still pulled in a tidy fourth-place finish after three weeks in theaters) isn’t a great idea. It’s an even worse idea when your film just isn’t very good (or, at least, when your film has been savaged by critics far and wide). The Frank Coraci feature made just $14.23M at this weekend’s box office (not counting holiday numbers, in an attempt to make this as even-keeled as possible), putting it quite firmly in third place behind both the mutants and the mutos. How bad is that for a Sandler outing? His last film, Grown Ups 2, which opened last summer after a holiday weekend, made $41.5M in its opening weekend. Not enough perspective for you? Sandler’s last attempt at actual profundity, 2009′s Funny People, made $22.6M on its opening weekend (and that’s a film that people, quite wrongly, hated). What went wrong? Maybe nothing — maybe we’re all just done with Adam Sandler’s schtick.

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Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in Blended

Last summer, I got a lot of flack for my review of Grown Ups 2, which I claimed was “definitely not as horrible as it’d been made out to be.” Almost a year later, I’m here to review the latest Adam Sandler movie, and I’m glad to have placed that previous one at a high enough level, with a high enough grade, to give some perspective on how much worse the new one is.  Grown Ups 2 is just a harmless and mostly plotless and somewhat surreal lowbrow comedy. Blended, on the other hand, is the actual sort of cinematic stain we’ve come to associate with Sandler, yet probably even worse than fits his reputation. This is a movie that has multiple jokes about various-aged daughters’ vaginas, mainly regarding the size of them and wiping them, humor that will make you cringe because it’s inappropriate (and to a degree inaccurate) rather than awkward, as cringe-humor is meant to be. There is also a lot of material derived from the sexuality of teenagers, which isn’t necessarily out of line as subject matter but which is handled with bad form for a movie that wants to somehow be both a sweet family film and a raunchy rom-com. It’s one thing to depict a boy in the early stages of puberty as a total horndog shamefully obsessed with pornography, his babysitter and the jiggle of a woman’s breasts, but a shot of him zoning in on a woman’s crotch with binoculars followed by a camel toe joke […]

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Romantic comedy

This week sees the opening of Blended, a comedy ostensibly fashioned as a romantic(ish) outing that stars Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, who have previously made a pair of mostly charming rom-coms together over the last sixteen years (yes, it’s really been that long). Although the film is rife with classic Happy Madison humor — rhinos humping! women being kinda shrewish! Shaq in a supporting role, for zero reason! – Blended is rooted in some real world issues that should feel quite relatable to plenty of movie-goers. Both Barrymore and Sandler play single parents looking for love, despite being ill-equipped for the job. The film’s title refers to the process of blending families, as such relationships don’t just hinge on how the actual lovers feel about the situation, but how their kids feel, too. Still, there’s rhino-humping. Yet the themes of Blended echo a new trend in the world of the romantic comedy — more mature storylines for more mature talents. The traditionally youth-focused rom-com genre has been circling the drain for quite a while now (it doesn’t help that no one has really stepped in to fill the shoes left vacant by talents like Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks, Kate Hudson, and Matthew McConaughey from the height of their rom-com years), and while that might initially seem like a bad thing, maybe we really don’t need a new crop of rom-coms about ditzy twentysomethings, perhaps these more adult outings are actually better.

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summermovieprediction_wk4

Welcome to week four of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge! Think of it as a summer-long contest for movie-lovers — you’ll make predictions and guesses as to which summer movies will rule the box-office each week, we award points and at the end of the contest the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles released throughout the coming summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2). We’ll have bonus questions each week as well to help bolster your point totals and keep you in the running. The box office actuals from this past weekend unsurprisingly put Godzilla at #1, but his arrival hasn’t altered our own #1 and #2 as Husain and AKFilmfan retain their top spots. The remaining three positions have been shaken up a bit though by some newcomers. Godzilla took in $93.19 million this weekend while Million Dollar Arm failed to beat Trouble With the Curve taking in less than that film’s $12.2m opening weekend. Here are the current standings for our contest. Husain – 11 points AKFilmfan – 9 pts Starkweather – 9 pts Spencer Connell – 6 pts Thomas McCallum – 6 pts And now it’s on to week four! Check out the challenge questions below and play along in the comments section.

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Blended (2014) trailer (Screengrab)

Adam Sandler has been flirting with different kinds of movies in the past year, most recently with Jason Reitman and Station Agent director Thomas McCarthy, but Blended is one last Hooters-infused shot across the formulaic bow. To make the magic complete, he’s joined with Drew Barrymore for a third time, Dick’s Sporting Goods is involved and everything looks painfully unfunny. At least, I have a theory as to why it makes us cringe. In the movie from Sandler stalwart Frank Coraci, Barrymore and Sandler play people who hate each other after their first date, but when an opportunity to go to Africa crops up, they Brady Bunch their families together on safari. The big question is whether Terry Crews can dance his way to saving it all. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Caine

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s Associate Editor Kate Erbland, filling in for the intrepid Nathan Adams as he enjoys vacation. Also, it’s about casting. Also, there’s not much going on today in Casting Land. Also, it’s Friday. Let’s all relax together. Looks like Brad Anderson‘s Eliza Graves is getting increasingly more British-y. The film, based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story, already has Kate Beckinsale attached to star, and now Deadline reports that Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, and Jim Sturgess have also joined the cast. This one centers on a mental hospital that gives new meaning to the saying “the inmates are running the asylum.” Spooky and such. No word on who is playing who, but we’re willing to bet the pivotal role of the handsome new doctor in town belongs to Sturgess. 

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Sandler and Barrymore

Lately, when we hear the words “new Adam Sandler movie,” they ultimately prove to be followed by some horrifying, bottom barrel plotline that makes us regret ever considering ourselves a fan of the funny man (sorry, Sandler, I still remember That’s My Boy), but for all the Just Go With Its and Grown Ups (and its upcoming sequel), Sandler can still charm the hell out of an audience with stuff like Fifty First Dates and The Wedding Singer. The continuing thread between such fare? Co-star Drew Barrymore. So, it is with some excitement that we reveal news about a new Sandler/Barrymore pairing that actually sounds charming, romantic, and – get this - mature. Moviehole passes along a ton of information about the film (via /Film), including that it will reunite the pair with Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci, that it features a script by Ivan Menchell and Claire Sera, with revisions from Sandler and Tim Herlihy, and that is will film in Georgia and South Africa. Wait - South Africa? That’s right, because with Blended, Barrymore and Sandler are going on safari…with kids.

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