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    Blended Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Warner

    Aug 31 2014 10:30 AM | Ken_McAlinden in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore co-star for the third time in Blended, a comedy about a mis-matched couple of single parents who find themselves reluctantly paired on an African resort vacation for "blended" families. Also back this go around is director Frank Coraci, the frequent Sandler collaborator who helmed the original on-screen pairing of Sandler & Barrymore, The Wedding Singer.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Warner Brothers
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
    • Rating: PG-13
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 57 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet
    • Case Type: Standard size Blu-ray case with two disc hubs in cardboard slipcover.
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 08/26/2014
    • MSRP: $35.99

    The Production Rating: 2/5

    Blended

    Directed by: Frank Coraci

    Starring: Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Wendy McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews, Bella Thorne, Abdoulaye NGom, Joel McHale, Shaquille O'Neal

    In Blended, Adam Sandler plays Jim, a widowed employee of a sporting goods store who is the father of three tomboy daughters. Drew Barrymore plays Lauren, a divorced mother of two young sons. As the movie opens, they are on a blind date that starts poorly when Jim chooses Hooters as the venue, and digresses from there to the point that they never want to see each other again. Fate steps in when an unexpected connection between Lauren's co-worker Jen (McLendon-Covey) and Jim's boss results in both families going on a safari vacation for blended families at the same African resort.

    Somewhwere buried within the almost two hour running time of this film is a pleasant 90 minute comedy just waiting for a better editor to assemble it. Nearly every scene in the movie goes on a bit too long with many of them continuing for multiple lines of dialog and/or reaction shots used to oversell punchlines that have already been delivered effectively. Whether due to undisciplined editing or optimism on the part of the filmmakers that they needed to leave extra time for audience laughter, it kills the pace of the film. Running gags such as one involving Jim's oldest daughter Hilary (Thorne) being mistaken for a boy and a surreal device involving Terry Crews and an African vocal group popping up throughout the film to musically comment on the narrative are milked too hard to justify their comedic and/or narrative merits.

    The film also has occasional issues with tone. At its core, it plays a lot like a PG-rated comedy about two troubled families coming together, but lays a number of semi-scatalogical gags on top of the sweetness to shore up its PG-13 rating. The gags are neither subversive enough nor consistently funny enough to justify the film's disconnect between what it seems to want to be and what it actually is.

    On the asset side of the ledger, Barrymore and Sandler have an easy chemistry that continues to work in this, their third outing together. The supporting cast is filled out with capable comedic actors including ringers such as Wendy McClendon-Covey as Jen and Kevin Nealon as fellow vacationer Eddie. Also of note is Jessica Lowe, in her feature film debut, as Eddie's trophy wife Ginger. Her part is mostly there to support a running gag where her age differential with Nealon, cleavage heavy wardrobe, and progressively more uncomfortable public displays of affection with her new husband are a constant source of embarrassment to her stepson. Without ever backing off on the physical gags or toning down the Marilyn Monroe-style vocal affectation, she somehow manages to migrate the character a few steps beyond the obvious stereotype as the film progresses. In the face of not very stiff competition, I will also go so far as to say that this film features the single greatest cinematic performance of Shaquille O'Neal to date.
    Blended Playlist


    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Whatever misgivings I had with the film itself, I have none about its visual presentation on Blu-ray. This AVC encoded 1080p presentation at the film's original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is razor sharp, bursting with colors, and suitable as reference material. Contrast is on the edge of acceptability in a few shots, but it appears to be a stylistic choice to emphasize the bright and colorful African exteriors. Second unit footage of African landscapes and animals looks as good as the rest of the film, reflecting the high production values of the film.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    By romantic comedy standards, the film also overachieves in the audio department. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack expertly renders a mix that uses the full 5.1 sound field in creative and immersive ways during numerous set-pieces while providing subtle ambience during the film's quieter and/or more dialog driven segments. Alternate language tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 are provided in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    When the disc is first played the viewer is greeted with the following skippable promos:
    • Ultraviolet Digital Copy promo
    • Dolphin Tale 2 theatrical trailer
    Proper special features consist of a large set of brief featurettes which would have benefited from a "Play All" feature:

    Safari (3:13) Features candid footage of a jeep safari taken by cast and crew during their first week in Africa. On screen comments are provided by Executive Producer Allen Covert, Adam Sandler ("Jim"), and Terry Crews ("Nickens")

    Animals (3:34) features candid footage of a visit by cast and crew to an African animal park. On screen comments are provided by Sandler, Emma Fuhrmann ("Espn"), Alyvia Alyn Lind ("Lou"), and Bella Thorns ("Hilary"),

    Parasailing (2:19) offers a brief overview of the shooting of the parasailing scene from the film. On screen comments are provided by Director Frank Coraci, Stunt Director Grant Hulley, Abdoukaye Ngom ("Mfana"), and Drew Barrymore ("Lauren")

    Ostriches (1:51) offers a brief overview of the "Ostrich Rodeo" sequence of the film. Comments come from Coraci, Kyle Red Silverstein ("Tyler"), Assistant Stunt Coordinator Johann Spilhaus, and Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow,

    Dick's Customer Service (2:27) Focuses on Shaquille O'Neal's scenes in the film and some of the on set goofing around that occurred while filming them. Comments come from Shaquille O'Neal ("Doug") and Lind.

    Herlihoops: Basketball Actor (1:06) is a short humorous demonstration of actor Tim Herlihy's real life basketball skills. Comments are provided by Sandler and Tim Herlihy ("Basketball Dad").

    Adam and Drew: Back Together Again (2:21) features the titular actors goofing off with each other and discussing working together. On-camera comments are provided by Sandler, Barrymore, and Coraci

    Bella Thorne's Makeover (1:58) Discusses Bells Thorne's make-under and over for her tomboy role in the film. Comments come from Thorne, Fuhrman, Make-up Department Head Ann Pala, and Barrymore

    Nickens (1:39) focuses on Terry Crews' goofy character from the movie. On-camera comments are provided by Crews and Coraci

    Gag Reel (5:52) is an above average six minute montage of on-set goofs and joking around.

    Deleted Scenes (6:11) features a collection of a half dozen deleted, extended, and/or alternate scenes from the movie. They are presented with individual chapter stops, but no ability to select them from the disc menu. Brief descriptions follow:
    • Alternate cherry panties takes
    • Extended rowboat scene
    • Extended ATV safari scene
    • Nickens kicks off Jeep safari
    • Camp out scene where Jim's family observes more uncomfortable PDAs from Eddie & Ginger
    • Brendan and Tyler discover condoms in their suite.
    Georgia (2:40) Discussion of the shooting that took place in and around Gainesville, GA. This is as much or more to promote visiting the state of Georgia as it is to provide background on the production of the film. On-screen comments are provided by Coraci, Covert, Producer Mike Katz, Production Designer Perry Andelin Blake, and Producer Jack Giarraputo

    SDDVD

    An SD DVD is also included in this Blu-ray combo pack. It presents the film in 16:9 enhanced video slightly letterboxed to 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 Ausio tracks in English, French, and Spanish and available subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish. When this disc is first played, the viewer is greeted with the following series of promos:
    • Ultraviolet digital copy promo
    • Dolphin Tale 2 theatrical trailer
    • IMAX Island of Lemurs: Madagascar home video trailer
    • Into the Storm theatrical trailer
    • This is Where I Leave You theatrical trailer
    • Godzilla home video trailer
    Special features on he SD DVD include the following subset of features that were included on the Blu-ray"
    • Adam and Drew: Back Together Again
    • Bella Thorne's Makeover
    • Gag Reel
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Georgia

    Overall Rating: 2/5

    Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's third film (and 52nd cinematic first date), proves to be less than captivating due largely to a lack of editorial discipline and inconsistent tone. It is presented on Blu-ray disc with outstanding audio and video quality and a collection of special features that are large in number but only modest in depth.

    Reviewed by: Ken_McAlinden
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