Kam On Film: ‘Blended,’ ‘Grand Depart’ and More


Warner Brothers

Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and crude humor

Three Times A Charm For Sandler And Barrymore On Silly Slapstick Safari

Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) is a widower who’s raising three daughters on his own. Since the macho man’s man is clueless about girls, he’s been slowly turning them into tomboys, between the Prince Valiant haircuts and referring to them by the masculine nicknames Larry (Bella Thorne), Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and ESPN (Emma Fuhrmann).

By contrast, Lauren Reynolds’ (Drew Barrymore) plight is practically the polar opposite. The frazzled, very feminine divorcee is being driven crazy by her testosterone-sodden sons, pubescent Brendan (Braxton Beckham) and hyperactive ‘tween Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein). The former’s hormones are raging, while his little brother’s pyromania has his mother seriously considering starting him on a Ritalin regimen.

Neither Jim nor Lauren had been on a date in ages until they made each other’s acquaintance online. They agreed to meet for drinks, and the prospects looked promising, given how her sons’ need for a father figure conveniently dovetailed with his daughters’ for maternal guidance.

Unfortunately, rendezvousing at Hooters turned out to be a bad idea, due to Jim’s paying more attention to the waitresses and to the basketball game on TV than to Lauren. So, the two chalked the unmitigated disaster up to experience, and went their separate way, never expecting to see each other ever again.

But, through a highly-improbable series of coincidences, both of their families end up booked on the same flight to South Africa for an all expenses-paid vacation where they’ll have to share a hotel suite at a luxury resort. Will Jim take advantage of his second chance to make a first impression?

That is the quandary established at the outset of Blended, the third romantic romp revolving around an Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore collaboration (along with The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates). But before the audience has an answer, the pair and their progeny must first indulge in the sort of stupid-funny fare that made Sandler famous.

The kitchen sink comedy then proceeds to throw anything up on the screen for a laugh (especially pecs-popping, scene-stealer Terry Crews as the irrepressible local entertainer), regardless of whether or not a skit fits into the plot or furthers the storyline. As dumb as the jokes were (and they are often plenty dumb), I have to admit that I frequently found myself laughing in spite of myself.

Call me bwana, but it’s three times a charm for Sandler and Barrymore on this totally-silly surfin’ safari!


Very Good (3 stars)

Running time: 117 minutes



Grand Depart

Rialto Premieres


Siblings Attend To Ailing Dad In Bittersweet French Drama

Luc (Jeremie Elkaim) and Romain (Pio Marmai) might be siblings but they’re as different as night and day. The former is a struggling screenwriter who has never amounted to much. His relatively-boring brother, on the other hand, is a straitlaced nerd who’s been doing his best to move up the corporate ladder by sitting behind a desk in a tie and jacket.

The two are also unalike when it comes to romance. Flamboyantly gay Luc has a life mate, Adrian (Willy Cartier), that he’s thinking about marrying, while heterosexual Romain’s lack of a personality has prevented him finding a woman willing to share a relationship.

Unfortunately, they’ve been emotionally estranged since childhood, when domineering Luc used to tease and torture his younger brother. That mistreatment gave rise to a tension that has persisted to the present, which is where we find both vying for the approval of their long-divorced parents.

Abusive Georges (Eddy Mitchell) had apparently abused masochistic Danielle (Chantal Lauby) until his long-suffering wife couldn’t take it any longer. Since separating, they’ve remained cordial only for the sake of their sons. After all, it’s hard to forgive a husband who flagrantly frequented prostitutes.

Lately, the 65-year-old patriarch has been behaving erratically, and was subsequently diagnosed by his doctor as slowly succumbing to dementia. This means he needs more support from flaky, favored son Luc who still lives at home.

However, when that isn’t forthcoming, Romain dutifully takes time from his busy schedule to attend to his dad’s healthcare needs. And when worse comes to worst, he prevails upon a nursing home administrator (Charlotte de Turckheim) he knows to expedite Georges’ admission to the facility she manages.

The family crisis also puts the siblings in close proximity of one another on a daily basis again, which gives them a chance to address their unresolved rivalry. Will they bury the hatchet for the sake of their ailing father?

That is the raison d’etre of Grand Depart, a character-driven drama marking the impressive directorial debut of scriptwriter Nicolas Mercier (My Worst Nightmare). The film features a compelling end of life theme similar to the Oscar Best Foreign Film winner Amour, though this picture’s embattled protagonists aren’t nearly as empathetic or embraceable.

Basically, a bittersweet tale about a couple of polar opposites endeavoring to bury the hatchet for the sake of their rapidly-expiring dad.


Very Good (3 stars)

In French with subtitles

Running time: 80 minutes


Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening May 30, 2014

Maleficent (PG for action, violence and frightening images) Angelina Jolie plays the title character in this reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the classic fairy tale’s infamous villain, an embittered shrew driven by revenge to put a curse on the king’s (Sharlto Copley) young daughter (Elle Fanning). Cast includes Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton andJunoTemple.


A Million Ways To Die In The West (R for violence, drug use, crude humor, graphic sexuality and pervasive profanity) Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed and stars in this irreverent Western, set in Arizona in 1882, as a cowardly shepherd who finally summons up some courage when his girlfriend’s (Charlize Theron) gun-slinging husband (Liam Neeson) suddenly shows up in town bent on vengeance. With Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi.


Delivery (Unrated) Demon seed horror flick about a couple (Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay) expecting their first child who decide to document the pregnancy for a reality-TV show, only to discover that the newborn’s been possessed by an evil spirit. With Rob Cobuzio, Colter Allison and Rebecca Brooks.


Emoticon ;) (Unrated) Romance drama about the Digital Age dating frustrations of an anthropology student (Livia De Paolis) who’s writing her thesis on modern methods of communication. Supporting cast includes Michael Cristofer, Carol Kane, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Sonia Braga.


Filth (R for violence, profanity, drug use, frontal nudity and graphic sexuality) Screen adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name about a bigoted, drug-addicted, cross-dressing, bipolar police officer’s (James McAvoy) efforts to secure a promotion and to reconcile with his estranged wife (Shauna Macdonald) and daughter (Megan Finn). With Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent and Imogen Poots.


The Grand Seduction (PG-13 for drug references and suggestive material) English-language remake of Seducing Doctor Lewis, the 2003 French farce about a tiny fishing village’s attempt to convince a visiting physician (Taylor Kitsch) to relocate there from the big city. Co-starring Brendan Gleeson, Liana Balaban and Anna Hopkins.


The Hornet’s Nest (R for pervasive profanity) Afghan War documentary chronicling veteran journalist Mike Boettcher and son Carlos’ nightmare when their coveringU.S. troops on the front lines turned into a hair-raising fight for survival.


Korengal (Unrated) Sequel to the Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, directed by Sebastian Junger (A Perfect Storm), serves up another slice of the War inAfghanistan from the point of view of a decimated platoon of American soldiers stationed in a very vulnerable valley surrounded by Taliban fighters on a suicide mission.


The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne (Unrated) “Diamond in the Rough” biopic chronicling the exploits of an infamous, African-American jewel thief from humble roots who fleeced upscale retailers like Cartier and Tiffany of millions in gems over the course of a checkered career which spanned 60+ years.


Lucky Them (R for profanity, sexuality and drug use) Toni Collette stars in this tale of redemption as a music critic assigned by her magazine to interview her reclusive, retired rock star ex-boyfriend (Johnny Depp) who hasn’t been seen in public for over a decade. With Oliver Platt,ThomasHadenChurch and Amy Seimetz.


Night Moves (R for nudity and profanity) Eco-thriller revolving around a trio of radical environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard) determined to protect the planet by any means necessary who conspire to detonate a hydroelectric dam. With Alia Shawkat, Clara Mamet andLogan Miller.


We Are The Best! (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama, set in Stockholm in 1982, where we find three 13-year-old girls (Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin and Liv LeMoyne) without instruments forming a punk rock band even though their friends and family say the genre is dying. With Alvin Strollo, Mattias Wiberg and Jonathan Salomonsson. (In Swedish with subtitles)