Sixteen years on from the infectious, puppyish charm of ‘The Wedding Singer’, its two stars, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, are now in the mommies and daddies phase of their careers. But director Frank Coraci’s comic timing has left the building in the meantime. This time around, Sandler – essentially playing the same role, doofus with hidden and loveable depths – is a sports-obsessed widower doing a not-too-brilliant job of bringing up three girls. Barrymore is an uptight divorcee keeping her two sons on a tight leash. Have you worked out the rest of the plot yet? Exactly. And while there’s a disastrous first date to sow a seedlet of doubt, the rest is thuddingly formulaic.
The only wrinkle en-route to happy-ever-after is a joint family holiday to a South African resort which, magically, has an entire continent’s wildlife a short drive away. It’s staffed by cheerily doltish flunkeys and an always-smiling harmony group whose portrayal skirts a fine line between patronising and outright demeaning. Sandler and Barrymore twinkle now and again when they leave the clunking script behind, but most of the time this is unrelentingly hideous – even by Sandler’s standards.