Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Blended vs. Walk of Shame, two summer romantic comedies.
PremiseSummer is coming, and with it, an onslaught of big budget blockbusters. Blended and Walk of Shame are two upcoming films that fall squarely into the “romantic comedy” subgenre of this seasonal trend. Blended covers all the essential ingredients of your average lighthearted flick: two single parents, a disastrous blind date, and a set of completely unrealistic circumstances that throw them together for an extended period of time. After a ridiculously bad dinner, Jim (Adam Sandler) and Lauren (Drew Barrymore) separately jaunt off to Africa with their respective children and end up staying at the same a luxury hotel (because that sounds plausible, right?) Subsequent antics involving a paragliding crash and Adam Sandler on the back on an ostrich-these only serve, we assume, to eventually bring the two together. Meanwhile, in Walk of Shame, aspiring news anchor Meghan (Elizabeth Banks) has a one-night stand with James Marsden, and needs to rush to a career-changing opportunity in the morning. Unfortunately she wakes up without her phone, car, ID, or money, and all kinds of other obstacles arise as she tries to make it to her broadcast in time. From Banks sprinting across an L.A. freeway on foot to running from the police in a club dress and pair of high heels, the film seems to be a series of amusing mishaps that could easily go south with the wrong actor. While Blended looks like it has its moments, the plot is a little too out-there to fully get behind, and Banks looks genuinely funny in Walk of Shame.Advantage: Walk of Shame
ChemistryBlended is the third collaboration between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, after 1998’s The Wedding Singer and 2004’s surprisingly charming 50 First Dates. Much of the screen time in Blended seems driven by the interactions between the two actors, and rightfully so. The trailer for Walk of Shame, on the other hand, implies that Banks and Marsden spend much of the film apart (you know, that old “after a magical one night stand, girl sneaks away and boy spends rest of the film looking for her” song and dance). Although Banks and Marsden are fine actors in their own right, we’re nostalgically giving this one to Sandler and Barrymore.Advantage: Blended
DirectorSteven Brill, the writer and director of Walk of Shame, is perhaps best known for 2008’s Drillbit Taylor. Frank Coraci, on the other hand, is clearly something of an Adam Sandler enthusiast; Blended marks his fifth feature with the actor, following films like 1998’s The Waterboy and 2006’s Click. He even directed both Sandler and Barrymore in The Wedding Singer.Advantage: Blended
Macking and CheesingYou can’t get through most big-budget romantic comedies without enduring some level of over-the-top cheesiness. Blended seems to embrace this enthusiastically—from its a coincidence-of-a-lifetime meeting in Africa premise to the moment in the trailer where Drew Barrymore regurgitates an entire helping of French onion soup. Walk of Shame seems a little more grounded in reality, or at least not quite as reliant on the audience’s suspension of disbelief. As far as we’re concerned, the prior two Sandler/Barrymore collaborations are classics, and we don’t like to ruin a good thing with a film that’s trying a little too hard.Advantage: Walk of Shame
Make ‘Em LaughSandler and Barrymore are two of the late ’90s/early 2000s most famous romantic comedy actors. Elizabeth Banks also has a long list of comedies to her name, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, to Pitch Perfect. Banks’ more dramatic turns in films like W., however, make her comedic prowess all the more impressive, and we think that Walk of Shame will show that she is more than capable of headlining a film.Advantage: Walk of Shame
The VerdictIt goes without saying that we have no objection to another Sandler/Barrymore reboot. But the contrived plotline and hackneyed jokes in the trailer give the impression that Blended is mainly a vehicle for the two to reunite, as opposed to a film that would be worth telling without the novelty of their involvement. Walk of Shame, on the other hand, looks like it will be genuinely funny, if not exactly mentally stimulating. Sign us up for some entertaining escapism.Winner: Walk of Shame