Here’s the thing. Adam Sandler has had a rough few years and his track record is basically ruined in terms of credibility. But his track record with Drew Barrymore is a little more positive, after both The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Especially considering it’s opening up against the amazing X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s hard to imagine this movie doing well.
The gist. Sandler plays a widower who’s raising three daughters and attempts to go out on a blind date with Barrymore, who’s divorced and raising two sons of her own. The date doesn’t go well and they essentially hate each other. Things get crazy when they both end up going on an African safari together with their families. Will these two learn to like each other? Of course. This movie is predictable as can be.
There’s actually a really touching story here, which surprised me. Most of this emotional core belongs to the sons and daughters. Barrymore’s two sons struggle with an absentee father and Sandler begins to be a role model for them. Sandler’s daughters struggle with remembering their mother and not wanting to lose the memory of her, though Barrymore manages to make quite an impact on them.
No lie, I teared up towards the end. As a romance/drama, there was some substance here. Joel McHale appears as Barrymore’s ex-husband and he does a great job at being an absolutely horrible father.
What doesn’t work?
As a comedy, this movie fails on nearly every front. If they would have cut the terrifying attempts at comedy and left the emotional core, this would have been a really solid hour-long film. But instead, it’s a bloated mess. The humor is ripped straight from films like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison but that sort of comedy hasn’t aged well. Add in Shaquille O’Neil and you’ve got yourself a disaster waiting to happen.
This movie puts me in a horrible predicament. Usually a movie that tugs on my emotions gets a decent rating because I appreciate that. But here’s a metaphor… I love potatoes. But if the world’s best potatoes were covered with dirt, they’d taste crappy. Even this really deep and emotional storyline couldn’t be saved after it had been surrounded by cringe-worthy comedy bits. Not worth the watch, though that’s unfortunate because there could’ve been something really special here.