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Smart takes

A.O. Scott's scathing Blended takedown is infinitely more entertaining than Blended

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Adam Sandler has never exactly been a critical darling, so it's not surprising that his latest movie — Blended, which re-teams him with 50 First Dates co- starDrew Barrymore on a mirthless African safari — has earned some less than stellar notices.

Blended has just 14 percent positive reviews on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes — which, believe it or not, makes it one of the better-reviewed Adam Sandler comedies to hit theaters in recent years. ("A lot less painful than anticipated," says one allegedly positive review at the Boston Herald.)

But of the many, many negative reviews, the best one comes from The New York Times' A.O. Scott, who blasts "the sheer audience insulting-incompetence of the filmmaking and the writing" in a blistering critical pan:

Most of Blended has the look and pacing of a three-camera sitcom filmed by a bunch of eighth graders and conceived by their less bright classmates. Shots don't match. Jokes misfire. Gags that are visible from a mile away fail to deliver. Two rhinos are seen copulating by the side of a swimming pool, and someone has the wit to say, "That's not something you see in New Jersey." Not funny on so many levels.

There are comedians who mine their own insecurities for material. Mr. Sandler, in his recent films, compensates for his by building monuments to his own ego. In Blended, he once again proclaims himself both über-doofus and ultimate mensch, disguising his tireless bullying in childish voices and the ironclad alibis of fatherhood and grief. [The New York Times]

Read the rest of the review at The New York Times.