After a disastrous first date, Jim and Lauren agree never to see each other again. After accidentally bumping into each other a few times, they discover that Lauren’s friend has been dating Jim’s boss. When their relationship ends, a family holiday to Africa is going spare so, each wanting to surprise their children, Jim and Lauren both take their kids but are annoyed to find each other there. Being forced to spend time together teaches them about different forms of parenthood and as they start to like each other, they realise that a friendship is blossoming between them which has the potential to become something more.

Blended (2014) – Director: Frank Coraci

Is Blended appropriate for kids?

 

Rating: 12A

Running Length: 117 mins

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Bella Thorne

Genre: Comedy

REVIEW

Adam Sandler comedies can be quite hit and miss and are often aimed at a teen audience whose wants and desires (or perceived wants and desires) do not necessarily make for high quality viewing. Thankfully, ‘Blended’ avoids the cheap laughs and in-so-doing manages to broaden beyond teen appeal and land itself in the much sought after sweet that should appeal to all members of the family. The plot of two families being forced together with seemingly little in common is hardly new and there are plenty of clichés thrown into the mix, however what ‘Blended’ does is have the intelligence to sidestep those clichés as much as possible, instead opting to take a mature tone as opposed to the easy cheap laughs, while retaining the fun comedy that younger viewers can enjoy.

Sandler, as a widower with three daughters, shows that, when he tries, he can act the role of a bereaved man trying to figure out how to move on very well. The touches of seriousness added by having a widowed lead, combined with occasional heartbreaking drama, make ‘Blended’ more than the sum of its parts but balances this well; not clogging the story with too many depressing moments. Choosing to avoid Sandler’s trademarks of anger and gurning allows him room to be a realistic character with plenty of depth and, thankfully, one who is actually likeable.

‘Blended’ is a pleasantly surprising comedy movie which is genuinely funny and very comfortable to watch with good characterisation and a good (albeit familiar) story to enjoy at your own pace.

IS ‘BLENDED’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

There are several moments throughout the movie where scantily clad women are seen, such as in a Hooters restaurant where the women working there wear tight, revealing clothing; adult magazines; and an adult TV channel. There is also a character who wears very revealing clothing and often ‘shimmies’, where she shakes her shoulders making her breasts jiggle. One character, a teen boy, sticks a photograph of his babysitter over the face of one of the models in the magazine. While this has sexual connotations, it isn’t too strong and many children watching will perhaps not pick up on a lot of the implied messages.

Jim is single because his wife died of cancer before the events of the movie. He and his daughters all miss her terribly; his middle daughter in particular struggles and imagines that her mother is still with her. She talks to her, saves a seat for her at the dinner table and expects everyone else to acknowledge her existence. This could be confusing and upsetting for younger children, it could also be distressing for those who may be going through a similar situation. However, it is sensitively handled and is more touching than emotionally distressing.

Jim goes to a local store to buy sanitary items for his teenage daughter. Having no idea of what to buy, he stands in front of the products for a long time. He reads out some of the words on the boxes, including ‘douche’ and another word which sounds like a sexual curse word, Jim points this out but not in a crude way. While at the store, Jim sees Lauren perusing magazines of women in bikinis because she found one of her teenage son’s and destroyed it before regretting her actions and wishes to replace it.

While in Africa, the families go parasailing and Lauren’s eldest son, Brendan, watches a young woman with binoculars. She is wearing very tight clothing and the straps from the safety harness she is wearing accentuate her crotch area. A man nearby who was also watching the woman tells Brendan that he ‘just saw a camel’.

Lauren, Jim and their families meet another family that are on the same holiday as them. They consist of an older gentleman, a young, attractive woman and the man’s teenage son. When the father and step-mother are first introduced to the story, they are sitting at a dinner table and kissing passionately, after this they struggle to keep their hands off each other. There is a scene that includes couple’s massage and after a while these two characters start to make the massage sexual and, when the instructor reprimands them, the man has his hands on the woman’s breasts. After the massage, this couple can be seen in the background going back to their tent and fall into it, it is made clear that they are going to be physically intimate. While this couple are very sexually charged, they appear to be very much in love and the age gap between them does not necessarily seem to be the reason why they are together.

Twice during the movie, Jim’s daughter, Hilary, and Lauren (on separate occasions) walk on-screen looking very different/more attractive than usual. Several people are looking at them and the camera focuses on important individuals while a song plays to express how that person is feeling. The Boyz II Men song, ‘I’ll Make Love To You’ is played when a character is attracted to the woman he is looking at and, during the second time that this happens, Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ plays while a woman watches Lauren enter the room. This woman also throws her bra at a male singer who is on stage.

There are a lot of suggestive moments in the movie, for instance, one character is on the phone to her boyfriend and tells him that she is ‘still sore’ and on a separate occasion says ‘I L-word you too’, she then goes on to say ‘I’m gonna make L-word to you so hard … for an hour and a half’. She also calls another character a ‘MILF’ (which stands for ‘Mom I’d Like to F***) and when her friend complains about another woman, she tells her that she ‘should roofy her and shave her head’, implying that the person in question should be drugged.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Despite some unsubtle sexual references and a very familiar plot, ‘Blended’ is a good example of how a romantic comedy can work with just a little bit of drama to ensure realism. There are some very positive messages about step families and it tackles issues like grief and the loss of a parent with grace and dignity without allowing this to drown out the comedy. We feel that this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 10 and over but would recommend caution as there are references to pornography and masturbation.

  • Violence: 1/5 (while on safari, two lions eat a small animal. This is done off camera but roars, bone cracking and ripping sounds can be heard while several characters look on in horror)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5
  • Fear Factor: 0/5
  • Sexual Content: 3/5       
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (mild and moderate cursing and blasphemy throughout, one character calls a female character ‘Fugly’, another character says ‘what the f…?’ then immediately says ‘what the fudge’)
  • Dialogue: 4/5 (mostly sexual in nature, one character suggests that a male character needs Cialis)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of family, step-families, grief, the loss of a parent, single parents and the sexual nature of adult relationships.

Words by Laura Record

Blended [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2014] [Region Free]


New From: £4.78 GBP In Stock

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