my original estimate of the movie was so negative, I felt guilty when it
actually made me laugh out loud just a few moments after I wondered if I
could give it a rating lower than 0/10. How could I laugh out loud if it
was such a lousy movie? And it kept getting better.
leads Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, the biggest star of the movie is
The Palace Hotel of the Lost City, the biggest hotel in the Sun City
Resort, west of Pretoria, South Africa and a two hour drive from
Johannesburg. Itís so eye-poppingly spectacular that I originally
thought it must be movie magic through green screen, but apparently itís
real. Production designer Perry Andelin Blake and cinematographer Julio
Macat provide award quality, breathtaking visuals throughout the film.
movie starts dismally with a blind date between single parents Barrymore
and Sandler. The scene is so lacking in humor and originality that it
made both me and my guest want to bolt, thinking we were in for two
hours of clumsy dialogue and attempts at humor lowlighted by Barrymore
spitting her food all over Sandler. It was at this point that I told my
guest that she could leave if she so desired.
immediately, however, came a scene among Barrymore, Sandler, and
Barrymoreís best friend, Wendi McLendon-Covey (who set up the blind
date), that got me to laughing so hard. From that point on writers Ivan
Menchell and Clare Sera get it in gear and produce a film thatís funny
and full of good family values.
not just happy and carefree, however. There are some touching scenes
that bring tears to your eyes, too. Hard as it may be for some to
believe, Sandler and Barrymore do fine jobs of acting. As Iíve said
before, Adam would be well advised to leave the influence of his buddy,
Judd Apatow, behind and consider more movies that arenít filled with
vulgar language and sophomoric scenes.
film is filled with a wonderful amalgam of African music, old favorites,
and a few new songs. Director Frank Coraci supplies a roaming Greek
Chorus known as Thathoo, comprised of nine singers who harmonize behind
infectious, captivating Terry Crews, who pops up throughout as the
resortís jovial hip singing host.
story throughout involves Sandlerís beautiful daughter, Bella Thorne,
who Sandler is apparently trying to make into a boy (named Hilary, he
calls her ďLarryĒ) in the only discordant part of the movie. If Adam is
such a good, caring father, why would he create such sexual confusion in
a teenaged daughter?
not enough, though, to spoil a movie that makes one leave feeling good
and wanting more.