Dave White
Blended Review

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Lout of Africa

Where’s the diarrhea? I was led to believe there'd be diarrhea.

Not explicitly, of course. Nobody outside of Pink Flamingos-era John Waters uses fecal matter as a selling point to bring audiences into theaters. But there has been an unspoken agreement, a trust if you will, between Adam Sandler and his core constituency of ticket buyers who just don’t give a damn what movie they’re shown, that at least one character per film, someone really gross, hopefully, will poop all over everything. And if it can be suggested that this poop is not fully solid – such as in the rousing laff-volcano Grown-Ups 2, which included a scene where Colin Quinn squatted in front of a chocolate soft-serve ice cream machine in order to simulate an endless turding – so much the better.

So, yeah, trust broken. And that hurts me. Because if I’m going to watch what is essentially A Very Brady Sex Adventure At A Generic Luxury Resort's Step-Family Week In Sun City, South Africa, one where the big question hanging in the air is whether or not Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore will ever realize that it’s time to hook up and get married and finally give their confused children the traditional gender role reinforcement of sports lessons and girly makeovers they clearly need, then I require traditional Sandler diversions to hold my interest until the inevitable smooch-finale.

These diversions should include, but should not be limited to, the following: extreme cruelty, horny old ladies who simply cannot get enough sex from Sandler, Shaquille O’Neal’s nipples, people who are too hairy or too fat or too anything stripped of their clothes and bullied for their freaky bodies, incest among adult siblings, Dave Matthews clenching a coconut with his butt cheeks, head injuries, boobie-honking, booger-eating, people of other races who aren’t Chris Rock used as doofus-level comic relief for white amusement, wild animals that peck your eyes or urinate on you, some sploshing/food fights, and then the diarrhea. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something… oh, yes, sharts. Those are qualitatively different than diarrhea but no less hilarious.

To be fair to Sandler and whatever robot-servants he got to write and direct it, this film does include a mild, PG-rated amount of breast jiggling, harassment of children who don't fully conform to rigid gender roles, Shaq belly dancing, and Drew Barrymore repeatedly forgetting how to carry her own child through a doorway (many bonks to the head!). But it all feels half-hearted. The movie is more concerned with being a backwards sort of family-friendly, the kind that cynically mines parental death and real human loneliness for quick sharp kicks to the feels, all the while boring the living hell out of any family unfortunate enough to spend money on tickets.

Sorry families. Next time maybe the bad man will remember that he built this relationship on the promise of poop.


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