Australian Council on Children and the Media

Blended

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Sexual references and crude humour)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Blended
  • a review of Blended completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 June 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended for this age group due to sexual references and crude humour.
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and crude humour.
Children aged 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Blended
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and crude humour
Length 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jim (Adam Sandler) and Lauren (Drew Barrymore) meet on a blind date which goes very badly right from the start. Jim is a widower trying to do his best with three daughters: teenage Hilary (Belia Thorne), Espn (Emma Fuhrmann) and cute little Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind) but he obviously lacks the ‘Mother’s touch’. Meanwhile Lauren has two sons: 15-year-old Brendon (Braxton Beckham) and hyperactive Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein). Lauren is divorced from the boys’ father Mark (Joel McHale) who was never there for his sons, leaving Lauren to raise them on her own.

As it happens, Lauren’s friend and colleague Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) has started dating Jim’s boss Dick (Dan Patrick) and is very excited about going on a romantic holiday with him to Africa. When Jen discovers this is a package holiday for blended families and that she’s expected to ‘blend’ with Dick’s five children, she ditches the holiday and Dick. Lauren is quick to take up the all-inclusive holiday so she can take her boys to an exotic destination. What she doesn’t know is that Jim has bought out the remaining four places for his own family. When both families arrive at the resort and realise they will be sharing the accommodation, sparks begin to fly. It isn’t long, however, before Jim and Lauren realise they have a lot more in common than they thought and that their children all benefit from each other’s guidance.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Step families; loss of a parent

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some mainly slapstick violence and accidental injury intended to be funny in this movie including:

  • Tyler swings a flaming T-shirt from a pole. Brendan puts the fire out with the extinguisher and, in the process, covers the babysitter with fire retardant.
  • Tyler has a temper tantrum when he strikes out at baseball.
  • Lauren carries a sleeping Tyler and repeatedly bashes his head against walls.
  • Pushing and shoving on a basketball court.
  • A girl at the holiday resort draws a picture of an elephant crushing her step-mother.
  • Jim and Tyler are riding ostriches when Jim goes headlong over the ostrich, crashing into a water trough.
  • A lion and lioness are looking lovingly at a baby warthog and are being shown as an example of a blended family in nature when the lion eats the warthog (not actually shown), leaving everyone horrified.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Jim is riding in a canoe when he thinks an alligator is attacking him. He lunges at the creature with his oar but it turns out to be a fake alligator.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Espn is obviously disturbed by the death of her mother and throughout the movie she talks to her Mum and saves a place for her at the table. She is genuinely upset at thought of losing Lauren as well as her Mum.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Children in this age group may also be upset at Espn’s sadness about her mother.
  • Brendan seems to have a fixation on his Mother, which could be confusing to those in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age goup may also be disturbed by the idea of the loss of a mother or by Brendan's fixation on his mother.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Hooter’s diners

Sexual references

There are sexual references and crude humour in this movie, including:

  • Lauren finds a centrefold under Brendan’s bed with the face replaced by that of his babysitter. The TV is set on a porn station and Brendan is sleeping with a big grin on his face.
  • Jim calls Brendan (on more than one occasion) ‘the masturbator’.
  • Hilary wants to borrow the car so she can go and get female hygiene products but has to explain to her Dad that she has her period. Lou calls it ‘monsterating’. Jim has to go instead and examines the various products on the shelf in confusion. He asks some teenage girls what they use but they walk away. Jim finds Lauren browsing the girlie magazine section, as she feels guilty for ripping up Brendan’s magazine. Jim helps Lauren find the right magazine and she, in return, locates the correct products for Hilary.
  • Lauren and Jen have their photo taken together dressing up in their client’s clothes. The photo gets posted online and they are referred to as closet queens. Lauren has to state that she is not a lesbian.
  • Brendan calls his Mother ‘friggin hot’ and says that she has a ‘rocking body’.
  • The resort owner shows both families into the main bedroom, which has a huge bed in the shape of a heart. He says that this is where they will make more babies.
  • Tyler starts to eat some erotic edible panties thinking they are sweets but Lauren makes him spit them out.
  • The singer at the resort suggestively talks about ‘alone time’.
  • Lou tells Lauren when she takes her to the toilet that her Dad always rubs too hard and he doesn’t have a vagina.
  • Mark tells Jim that he will put his flowers on Lauren’s bed where they make love.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • At the resort there are a man and his younger wife who are always passionately kissing in public. The woman wears low cut tops and is always ‘shimmying’ at the slightest comment.
  • A pair of rhinos is shown mating.
  • At a couples’ massage session a man is seen rubbing his partner’s breasts instead of her shoulders.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • alcohol drinking in various settings

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name calling in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God; crap; freaking; shit; fugly; arsehole; butt hole; moron; bitch; d-bag

In a nutshell

Blended is a fairly predictable romantic comedy about step families.  It is littered with crude humour and sexual references throughout, in typical Adam Sandler style, and is therefore not recommended for children under 13. Some parents may feel that it is also not suitable for younger teenagers.  It is, however, likely to be quite entertaining for teens and could raise some interesting discussion points for parents and children.

The main message from this movie is that children need both mothers and fathers while growing up.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • understanding and tolerance.
  • the need to let children have some autonomy.

Parents may wish to discuss the appropriateness of some of the crude humour in the film, such as making fun of normal parts of development during puberty.

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