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Blended (Blu-ray Review)

BlendedWhen it comes to the films of Adam Sandler, critics either have their negative review written before they see the film or just avoid the movie all-together.  Personally, I can’t say I’m a big fan, but I’m sort of indifferent.  Back in the 90s and early 2000s he made a good handful of movies I did enjoy.  In fact, his first pairing with Drew Barrymore The Wedding Singer is actually an all time favorite film of mine.  Sandler and Barrymore’s chemistry was off the charts and they rekindled that years later in a follow up 50 First Dates which I thought was “ok” (ending just felt creepy and depressing to me).  When Blended was announced as another pairing of the two, I was actually sort of looking forward to it.  Then, of course like clockwork is was instantly reviled and panned.  And unlike most Sandler movies, it barely scraped past its budget at the box office.  As you can see, even with the negative critic reaction, I was still somewhat optimistic going into this one (it should be noted that audiences did seem to be ok with it as it scored a 67% on RT and  6.5 on IMDB).

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Film 

A single mother, Lauren is on a blind date at Hooters with single father Jim.  The date isn’t going to hot as both use similar excuses and attitudes to try to get it to end as fast as possible.  As fate would have it, they end up running into each other at a Pharmacy and need one another’s help to figure out purchases for their children of opposite genders.  As fate would have it again Jim’s boss gives up vacation tickets to Africa to Jim and his girls, but also Jim’s Boss’s girlfriend is Lauren’s BFF who gives her the other lot of the tickets for this aborted vacation.  Now, they must all go on vacation together and deal with one another.  How does this all play out?  I bet within 3 guess you could figure it out.

Yep, Blended is actually as bad as they were saying.  Its a shame too, as I felt somewhere trapped in this 2 hours was possibly a better movie had it been handled better with its direction and post production.  Sandler and Barrymore still carry that charm and chemistry, but its not even close to enough here as we go from unfunny moment to unfunny moment.  There were a few parts of the film that I found mildly amusing, but most of it (including Terry Crews overdone weird band) is just too much and unfunny.  I’d say this could work as an all ages family affair, but not all the content is safe for the family.  I may have been more forgiven had this film went for a PG rating instead of hitting that desired PG-13 rating.

One of my biggest problems with Blended noncontent-wise was its cinematography.  The film is incredible claustrophobic and it has no reason to be.  It takes place in Africa and they shot there too, so there’s nothing to hide.  There should be some big gorgeous wide shots and there’s almost none of that.  Everything is so boxed in.  Its hard to make out anything around the characters in this movie.   I wanted to just stretched my arms out and shake them all around I felt so closed in watching this.

Blended is also super wordy.  There’s no time to breath or have characters take any sort of action.  The movie really overtalks itself to death.  This script or the director has no sign of restraint as people keep on yap yap yapping.  And a lot of it is just some unfunny stuff.  Let’s not forget to mention this film also has some of the most atrocious and worst child acting I’ve every seen in a movie.  These kids couldn’t even convince me they were walking through a doorway let alone deepen any plot points.

I couldn’t wait for Blended to end.  It doesn’t help that this movie is 2 hours long and really has no reason to be.  The last half hour of the movie is ridiculously unnecessary offended at padding the runtime of the film and got my blood boiling because it was just keeping the inevitable from happening.  Joel McHale is in this movie btw.  Could someone please start putting him in good movies?  Thanks.  Blended even feels like a complete retread of a not too old Sandler film called Just Go With It, bringing on even more tiresome trappings to an already snoozer film.  Even fans of just the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore pairing can’t even find fun in this.  This is the worst Adam Sandler film I have ever seen.  I’ve not seen the Grown Ups movies or Jack and Jill but I can’t imagine either of those getting much more boring and dreadful than this one.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Its a rather sharp image with some pretty good detail.  There is an overhead shot of a little league baseball field that is rich in showing the pattern and rakings of the dirt as well as the blades of grass.

Depth:  Its decent, but to be honest, we’re judging an abundance of close ups and medium-close shots.

Black Levels:  Here’s the killer.  This film, for some reason, is really really really dark.  A lot of detail is hidden in shadows and any article of fabric or hair featuring the color has no detail.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are strong and rich.  Browns and yellows being a standout.

Flesh Tones: Skin is very warm.  Detail is very high as you can make up wrinkles, stubble and belmishes in most any shot.

Noise/Artifacts:  None

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Audio 

Audio Format(s):  English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  The 5.1 is a very boisterous and loud track.  There is a great range of its volumes and every sound is crisp and distinct.  Music and the score seems to be set louder than the effects and voice, but nothing seems to be lost with that contrast.

Low Frequency Extension:  Drum beats are enhanced as well as doors shutting and engines running.

Surround Sound Presentation: There are plenty of sounds to be heard in Africa in the rear speakers.  Also, a lot of left to right action occurs, especially notable during the ostrich race/riding scene.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clear and front heavy.

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Extras 

Blended comes with a DVD copy and UltraViolet digital copy of the film.  While this looks like an onslaught of extras, there’s really nothing of substance and most of it equates to a lot of short wastes of time.

Safari (HD, 3:13) – A little piece on location scouting for the film.

Animals (HD, 3:34) – Cast and crew play with some South African animals when not shooting.

Parasailing (HD, 2:19) – Behind the scenes look at the shooting of the parasailing sequence in the film.

Ostriches (HD, 1:51) – A short piece on how the ostrich riding scene was shot and done in post.

Dick’s Customer Service (HD, 2:27) – Some extra scenes with Shaq.

Herlihoops: Basketball Actor (HD, 1:06) – A video on one of the producer’s cameo scenes.

Adam And Drew: Back Together Again (HD, 2:21) – This was a pretty disappointing video that amounts to nothing much.  Was expecting a more insightful piece on them doing 3 films together.

Bell Thorne’s Makeover (HD, 1:58) – A bit about her transformation in the film.

Nickens (HD, 1:39) – This one talks about Terry Crews’ character in the film.

Gag Reel (HD, 5:53) 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:12) – A total of 6.

Georgia (HD, 2:40) – A segment on shooting some of the movie in Georgia.

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Summary 

While I wasn’t a fan of the film, Warner Bros has put together a pretty solid release here that should have its fans pretty satisfied.  I may have found the extras useless, but some may enjoy them and there’s plenty.  With above average audio and video this makes it a solid package of a really subpar film.  Even if you’re not sure you trust me, I ask that you proceed with caution and rent the thing before just going out and purchasing it.  You may find yourself in my boat with it.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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