Story: Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore) can’t stand each other after a disastrous blind date. But when they end up in the same suite on an African safari, they have to try and get along. Review: Going about their everyday lives in a suburban American town are Jim and Lauren.
Both have a brood of kids from their respective earlier marriages. Of Lauren’s two boys, one is on a permanent sugar rush while the other lasciviously leers at porn mags. Jim’s daughters are mostly angels, except for the eldest, Hillary (Thorne) who is frustrated by people constantly mistaking her for a ‘dude’ rather than a girl. Her Tudorstyle pageboy hairdo doesn’t help matters. Jim takes Lauren to a Hooters restaurant on a blind date where they are served by a giggling bevy of busty waitresses.
The sleaziness of it all has Lauren wanting to bolt for the door, never to see Jim again. But fate (and a supremely predictable plot) has other plans. They would meet again in Africa, and even share the same resort suite, thanks to tickets purchased from mutual friends who planned to go there themselves, but cancelled out. After being greeted by an overly enthusiastic concierge Mfana (NGom) in Africa who mistakes them for a quarrelling couple with a lot of kids, the gags that follow range from somewhat funny to cheesy.
The movie’s first scene that involves Barrymore flushing a toilet is indicative of the kind of humour you’ll find in here. The resort’s singing group ‘Thathoo’ are like a bunch of mad minstrels, but funny nonetheless. They pop into the frame at various points in the movie.
In their unintentional quest for love, Jim and Lauren’s lives and dealing with loss, single parenthood and divorce, offers an interesting and unintentional insight into suburban middle class America. Sandler is firmly in his comfort zone and Barrymore is the cute person she is in most of her films. The movie is no doubt funny, but the genuinely good jokes are just by the handful.