Directed by Frank Coraci | Starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews | Rated PG-13
There’s something about Drew Barrymore that brings out the best in Adam Sandler. It’s true about “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates,” and it is further confirmed by their latest team-up, “Blended.”
The film starts with a terrible blind date at a Hooters with Barrymore’s Lauren and Sandler’s Jim, where they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. Standard movie circumstance leads them to run into each other a few more times, further fueling their mutual dislike, but allowing the narrative to divulge that each is a single parent — Lauren has two boys, Jim with three girls — and a common connection. Lauren’s business partner Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey, hilarious) is dating Jim’s boss.
All this is buildup to what you’ve all seen in the trailers — these two families stuck with each other at a fancy resort in Africa, which is hosting a special event for blended families. I’m sure you’ve all seen enough romantic comedies to know what happens from here.
It doesn’t sound like a recipe for a winning film, but there is legitimate magic when Barrymore and Sandler are on screen together. Their dance from enemies to friends to more is infectious fun, and the supporting cast deviates enough from Sandler’s usual cohorts to keep the film afloat. Joel McHale is spot on as Lauren’s sleazy ex-husband, and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” superstar Terry Crews acts almost as a Greek Chorus with his band of singers reflecting on Lauren and Jim’s burgeoning relationship. There’s also a cohort of child actors who are each funny and touching in their own way.
Swap out Barrymore for another female lead and “Blended” might have gone the way of “Grown Ups” or “Just Go With It.” Instead, we get another fun rom-com from these two likable leads.
Now how many more “Grown Up” sequels do we have to endure before they team up again?