Hoo-Boy, I thought to myself. Another Adam Sandler movie this year, huh? Wasn’t it bad enough that I sat through Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 last year, after spending my life until that point avoiding Adam Sandler movies like the plague? Then again, this was going to be a film with Drew Barrymore, and several people told me that The Wedding Singer was bearable, or at least less terrible than his other movies. But then I saw the trailer for Blended, and I thought Oh, NO WAY is this going to be good.
Okay, so first things first. If you enjoy vaudevillian comedy and slapstick humor — people slipping on banana peels, slamming into walls, falling down the stairs, etc. — then you will probably enjoy this movie. But then again, you’re probably the kind of person who already LIKES Adam Sandler movies, and you’re scratching your head in bewilderment right now wondering why on earth he was nominated by the Razzies in the Worst Actor category.
Well, if that describes you, then I’m sorry. But if you DO have a brain in your head, then read on and I’ll tell you why this is a lousy movie and why he is lousy in it.
Yes, this is an Adam Sandler movie, so yes there’s going to be a certain amount of physical slapstick humor. People fall down and crash into things, which I mind because it’s stupid and it’s an easy laugh. People also do stupid / reckless things that have the power to hurt others, which I mind more. Adam Sandler falling down is just dumb. Adam Sandler yelling while riding a clearly distressed ostrich around is dumb and it’s also cruel. Even if the lowest common denominator of morons in the audience thought it was hilarious, I’m pretty sure the ostrich didn’t.
I mean … WTF, Sandler??? And no, I don’t care how much of it was CGI or that no actual ostriches were (presumably) harmed in the making of this movie. It’s the message that counts, and the message is STUPID.
Okay, so there’s slapstick stuff in this movie and I think that slapstick is stupid … or specifically, I think that slapstick that only requires two brain cells to comprehend is stupid. Let’s move on to my REAL problem with this movie. Because there is something in this movie that upsets me even more than slapstick comedy and traumatized ostriches. And that is the portrayal of Adam Sandler’s character as a sympathetic hero.
Oh, yeah. That’s the part that REALLY pisses me off.
Okay, so Sandler plays the character of a single father who has several daughters. He is starting to date again, and he goes out on one disastrous date with Drew Barrymore (the fact that he brought her to Hooters was just one of the problems). They consciously dislike each other, but to some subconscious degree they must be attracted to one another because otherwise their romance would never bloom.
I’m fine with all of that. My problem lies with the way he interacts with women, both on his date with Drew Barrymore and with his daughters who desperately need a maternal figure in their lives. He’s just … so BAD at all of it. And YES, I know it’s a movie. YES, I know it’s being played for comedy. YES, I know that’s his character arc, as we’re supposed to see him grow and develop from an insensitive guy into a sensitive one. What pissed me off was that he would do something that was, like, a -5 on the sensitivity scale (being a clueless moron about his older daughter wanting to act like a girl instead of a tomboy, or being a clueless moron about WALKING IN ON HER WHILE SHE’S CHANGING HER CLOTHES, for example).
Then his behavior would improve by just a few degrees (say, a -2 on the sensitivity scale), and suddenly the music would begin to swell. Ugh, I HATE when movies try to pull at your heartstrings with swelling music. And look, I’m not opposed to crying when a movie is genuinely sensitive (you should have seen what a mess I was at the end of The Imitation Game).
But for God’s sake, this movie kept trying to make him out to be this great person whenever he would simply be LESS of a neanderthal than he was before. WTF, movie? Are your standards that low? If you were a parent, would you be the kind of parent who rewarded your kids for every grade on their report cards that wasn’t an F?
OMG, I got SO irritated with this, and it happened multiple times, so every time I felt my blood pressure start to rise. That swelling music would start to kick in, saying, ISN’T IT WONDERFUL THAT HE LEARNED SOMETHING? ISN’T IT WONDERFUL THAT HIS EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED? ISN’T IT WONDERFUL THAT HE HAS LEARNED TO APPRECIATE AND UNDERSTAND HIS DAUGHTER? AND LOOK AT THAT BLOSSOMING ROMANCE — ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL, TOO?
But what was going through my head was more along the lines of YES, THAT’S SOME PROGRESS, BUT IT’S HARDLY WORTH CELEBRATING and HOW WAS HE MARRIED TO SOMEONE AND STILL CAN’T UNDERSTAND WOMEN AT ALL? and CONGRATULATIONS. IT *JUST* OCCURRED TO YOU THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERATION FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S FEELINGS. WOULD YOU LIKE A GOLD STAR? and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT DOWN THAT MUSIC, ALREADY! STOP TRYING TO MANIPULATE ME, YOU STUPID MOVIE!!!
So in conclusion, I was not a fan of this movie. This probably has something to do with the fact that I have more than two brain cells, I was never rewarded for mediocre grades, I don’t like being manipulated, and I felt sorry for the frigging ostrich.