​David Edelstein on Adam Sandler's latest, "Blended"

Adam Sandler in the rom-com "Blended."

Warner Brothers

Thinking about a movie this holiday weekend? Here's David Edelstein with tips on movies to see . . . and one you might want to AVOID:

Lately, Adam Sandler has gotten all kinds of hate for movies I'd call asinine if it weren't unfair to asses.

"Jack and Jill" . . . "Grown Ups 2" . . . the names fall on the ear like the words "bladder infection."

His new comedy is "Blended," and on the surface it's an improvement. Right below the surface, it's rotten, it's reactionary.

Can I stop and say I'm a fan?

Adam Sandler in "Blended." Warner Brothers

Sandler fascinates me. Some actors are stars because you can read their features instantly, while others -- like Sandler -- because you never quite get a fix on them. He's so self-absorbed it's like he's fogged in. But his eyes have a sadness that says he knows that. He's like the little boy who punches you because he can't figure out another way to express himself.

And in "The Wedding Singer" and "50 First Dates," he had a co-star whose radiant sweetness cut through that fog. That was Drew Barrymore, who stars with him in "Blended."

Third time's not the charm.

She plays a divorced professional organizer with two sons who need a dad. He's a sports-addicted widower with three daughters who need a mom.

I trust you see the mathematical possibilities.

He takes her to Hooters on a blind date, which makes her hate him, which is okay because he hates her. So far, so funny.

But as fate brings them together, "Blended"'s idea of blending begins to reek. Only the man can teach the woman's boy to be scary-aggressive in sports; only the woman can turn the man's tomboy daughter into a teen goddess in short dresses who can attract a guy.

And these lessons are learned on a trip to an African resort, where black people smile, sing, pop their eyes, and basically exist to teach white people how to fall in love.

"Blended" has a dirty-old-man's sensibility. It's a good family movie for people who think Hooter's is a good family restaurant.

You want something good to see?

The new "X-Men" is a twisty pretzel time-travel picture; "Neighbors" is a good smutty juvenile comedy; and the last 20 minutes of "Godzilla" -- when Godzilla deigns to show himself -- is not bad at all.


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