These days, Adam Sandler is a bottle of beer that's lost all its bubbles — cheap, mass produced domestic beer.
So let's focus on what works in his latest, “Blended,” because he sure doesn't.
Drew Barrymore, in her third pairing with Sandler, still brings energy and conviction to her performance as Lauren, a mother of two thrown together on an African vacation with this lump she met on the Blind Date from Hell — a blind date at Hooters.
Wendi McClendon-Covey, playing her best friend Jen, delivers a comically furious turn and either upstages Barrymore or forces Drew to play at her level. Watch and listen to the two of them berate an obnoxious, snarky loser-dad at Lauren's son's Little League game — shouting, talking over each other, name-calling. It's Vince-and-Owen-in-“Wedding Crashers” good.
And then there's Terry Crews, who steals the movie as the MC and singer of an African vocal group at the Sun City resort where Jim (Sandler), the sad sporting goods salesman, and Lauren, the professional closet organizer, and their five kids end up in an absurdly contrived joint vacation / safari.
The wild-eyed Crews, dancing and crooning, bumping and grinding, sings of the “blending” that will go on during this week of non-traditional families wildlife watching and bonding. He is the Greek chorus for this obvious, stale and stiff comedy, a shirtless jolt of life (the man's pecs do a dance all their own) in this lesser entry in the career of the aptly-nicknamed “Sandman.”
We are deep into the “family comedy” stage of Sandler's working life, families where the kids cuss and rhinos hump, where Jim urinating long and loudly outside of a tent is played for a laugh, where the past-expiration-date Kevin Nealon and a jiggly / funny Jessica Lowe (the new Anna Faris?)are the oversexed other “non-traditional family” that the Lauren-Jim ensemble pair up with.