Third time unlucky for Sandler and Barrymore

Adam Sandler as Jim and Annabella Thorne as Hilary. PA/Warner Bros.
Adam Sandler as Jim and Annabella Thorne as Hilary. PA/Warner Bros.

Lightning doesn’t strike thrice for Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in ‘Blended’.

In 1998, the two stars fell in love in ‘The Wedding Singer’. Six years later, they turned on the charm in ‘50 First Dates’. Now, Sandler and Barrymore try in vain to kindle the same irresistible spark in Frank Coraci’s romantic comedy of mismatched single parents. Unfortunately Sandler and Barrymore catalyse screen chemistry which feels more like sibling affection than simmering passion, with an awkward looking first kiss.

Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera’s script has a few nice moments of laughter and heart-warming sentiment including some surprisingly moving discussions between a father and his children about grief and remembrance.

Tenderness is offset by exaggerated physical comedy and cloying sentiment, which shamelessly manipulates our emotions.

Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) is a single mother with two sons, Brendan and Tyler, who have been let down badly by her unreliable ex-husband. Single father Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) lost his wife to cancer and is left to bring up Hilary (Bella Thorne), Espn and Lou alone.

Fate conspires to throw Lauren and Jim together on a disastrous blind date.

The parents vow never to see each other again but are forced to share a family-sized suite on a South African safari adventure.

The younger cast are more convincing, especially Bella Thorne, who transforms from tomboy into prom queen after spa visit, in a scene reminiscent of the 1999 teen romance ‘She’s All That’. Alas, Blended isn’t all that, not by a long shot.