I don't get why people are being so hard on the latest Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore film BLENDED, especially when you realize what the film is actually about. At the core of this seemingly unfunny, shit stain of a movie is a very serious message about bringing two families together. One belongs to Sandler's Jim, a widower with three daughters; the other belongs to Barrymore's Lauren, a divorced woman with two sons. And through a contrivance that's not even worth mentioning, both families end up going on vacation in an exotic location, where they have to pretend to be one big family.
But it's that exotic location that gave me my first clue what BLENDED was really about. The film is set in South Africa, and I'm fairly certain that the true "blending" being represented racial blending in a post-Apartheid South Africa. Sure, it's about 20 years after the fact, but I feel fairly confident I'm on the right track here.
While I can't draw parallels between all of the characters in the film and real-life players in the long struggle that resulted in the end of Apartheid, I feel pretty sure that Sandler and Barrymore are meant to represent the black and white cultures, who hate and distrust each other after one date at a Hooters (that's in the movie, not in real life). Once they get to South Africa, they meet a helpful concierge (Abdoulaye NGom), who is clearly standing in for Nelson Mandela, the peacemaker between the two sides. The great Terry Crews is also on hand as the resort's only source of entertainment, so I'm guessing he's a stand in for Winnie Mandela or maybe Peter Gabriel. Things get a bit fuzzy here.
The whole time I was watching this film, I was concerned that there was no counterpart for former South African president F. W. de Klerk, but sure enough, enter Joel McHale as Lauren's conniving ex-husband, who never finds time for his kids. Boy, is he a dick. Then we have Kevin Nealon and Jessica Lowe as a sexed-up couple at the resort, who essentially never stop making out even as the turmoil around them escalates rapidly; so I'm guessing they represent the United States. Wow, this is exhausting.
So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if you are a student of world history, then BLENDED might be for you. But if you have any taste or class or culture or sense, book a trip to the moon for the next couple of weeks and feel free to return to Earth once the film is out of theaters. The saddest part about this movie is that Sandler and Barrymore have actually collaborated to make one of Sandler's best films that isn't PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE; that would be THE WEDDING SINGER (also helmed by BLENDED director Frank Coraci) and not 50 FIRST DATES.
But nothing about this film even comes remotely close to redeeming it or justifying its existence. It's a movie where a character will tell a joke and then explain the joke in case you're too dumb to get it. Don't worry Sandler, I get the joke; it just isn't funny. But I am encouraged by his interest in politics. Perhaps his next film will be a metaphor for the war in the Falkland Islands.