Comedy powerhouse Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler team up for a third time to bring us this summer’s hit family movie, Blended. The duo provides a peek into today’s blended family, and offers insight into the challenges stepfamilies face.
As I watched the hilarious comedy with my half-sister—my own little blended family movie review—I thought about all the stereotypes represented in the movie. Blended, while funny and well-meaning, furthers the commonplace mindset that plagues so many broken homes.
If you or someone you know is a part of a divorced or blended family, read on as we debunk the stereotypes portrayed in the movie, Blended.
1. Stereotype #1: All dads are completely inept when it comes to raising girls.
In Blended, Sandler’s wife dies of cancer, leaving him with three daughters. He works at a sporting goods store and dresses his daughters accordingly. They all go to Sandler’s barber and look like his three mini-me’s; not a flattering look if he had boys, let alone girls.
I know some men are guys’ guys. Yet I also know some men who partake in tea parties, paint fingernails, and play dolls with their daughters. Blended gives men a free pass. It convinces them that they don’t have to embrace their daughter’s femininity.
Wake up, dads! Your daughter will become a woman with or without your guidance. Wouldn’t you rather her do it under your protective wing rather than under the guidance of her more experienced friends?
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. (Prov 22:6, NLT)
2. Stereotype #2: All single moms have a deadbeat husband. Barrymore’s character has a slimy ex-husband played brilliantly by Joel McHale. His cliché character leaves her in a lurch, disappoints his boys, and always looks out for Number One.
This type of parenting seemed more prevalent during the divorce boom of the 80’s. Today, however, more parents share joint custody and co-parent. Shouldn’t we celebrate this type of cooperative parenting instead of perpetuating the deadbeat dad club?
3. Stereotype #3: All single moms are neurotic and overprotective. Barrymore plays the organized, independent, type-A single mom whose spinning plates are about to drop. She coddles her boys and refuses to let them grow into men. Yet she longs to have a man present in their lives.
Personally, I know several single moms who arranged for their sons to have male mentors. The mentor relationship is beneficial for two reasons. First, it provides a stable male figure who is missing in the boys’ lives. Second, it gives the boys the time and space they need to pursue activities that the moms do not feel equipped to teach, such as hunting and fishing.
Is Blended a bad movie? Of course not. It’s actually very funny, with intermittent appearances by Terry Crews and slapstick comedy to keep the entire family entertained. Yet we must watch realizing that their blended family experience might differ from our blended family experience.
Elizabeth Oates is a wife, mother of three, and an author, blogger, and speaker who encourages, inspires, and equips a new generation of women seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. She is a cliché Generation Xer from a broken home who once searched for purpose and significance apart from Jesus Christ. Today she devotes her life to spreading the message that we are not defined by our past; our God is bigger than our broken family trees and stronger than the sins that weigh us down. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and co-founded Project Restoration Ministry. To learn more about Elizabeth or receive her weekly blog, please visit ElizabethOates.com