CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: ‘Blended’ is Lazy, Laugh-Free Catastrophe
CHICAGO – Two things save “Blended” from getting a zero star review. Number one is the still palpable chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Number two is the occasional chuckle courtesy of Wendi McClendon-Covey as Barrymore’s business partner. Otherwise this is a barren laugh-free safari through Africa that doesn’t even have the benefit of Al Pacino trampling on his prestigious career for our amusement.
“Blended” never sinks to the astonishingly awful lows of “Jack And Jill” or “That’s My Boy.” Both of those films had ideas I couldn’t believe had ever made it to the silver screen. But I won’t soon forget them, as hard as I may try. “Blended” is both painfully unfunny and bland and boring.
I feel a little sorry for Drew Barrymore’s career these days, because the closest thing she’s got to a dependable leading man is Adam Sandler. He’s certainly no Tom Hanks. Sandler, as usual, is clad in outfits that even George Constanza would find to be the epitome of apathy and hopelessness. Sweat pants are almost considered formal gear. This is Sandler and Barrymore’s third film together and you can see the reasons why. When they’re together her flightiness comes off as charming rather than insipid. And his overgrown man-child takes a few steps towards maturity even as Sandler himself proceeds firmly into middle-age. “Blended” also re-teams them with their “Wedding Singer” director Frank Coraci, but the best they can manage is to make the film blandly awful instead of an audience endurance test.
Lauren (Drew Barrymore) and Jim (Adam Sandler) in ‘Blended’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.