Families that are forced together, stay together. Or maybe not. In films, mixed families rarely come together smoothly, and none more so than Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler’s respective families in new comedy, Blended.
Here are our top 10 blended families in film.
- Step Brothers (2008) dir. Adam McKay
The story about the step brother who hates his step brother who both also hate the other brother who hates both brothers. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are two forty-something unemployed losers who are both living with their parents.
Said parents fall in love and move in together, forcing the two grown-up kids to become roomies and consequently hate each other. The two soon unite, however, due to mutual dislike of an additional third brother... ahh, mutual dislike, really brings people together.
The majority of the film involves pranks and hijinks amongst the family members, and if it was real life, there would surely be various court cases involved.
- Stepmom (1998) dir. Chris Columbus
Following Susan Sarandon’s divorce from Ed Harris, she finds herself a nemesis in the form of her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, Julia Roberts, several years his junior.
The rivalry is made all the more intense by their children, whom both women are very protective over. Things become even more complicated when Susan becomes terminally-ill and has to come to terms with the fact that Julia will now take her place as her children’s mother.
Comedy aside, Stepmom is heartbreaking, particularly when Susan Sarandon says 'I have their past, you can have their future.'
- Cruel Intentions (1999) dir. Roger Kumble
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe at their despicable best, starring as the step-siblings you never want to meet, let alone cross.
With a slightly twisted sexual chemistry between the two not-actually-brother and sister, seduction and sabotage run through the core of the 1999 film, with Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair starring as both their pet projects and victims in equal measure.
Through the influence of the two girls, cracks soon appear in the pair’s relationship and thus ends their scheming partnership leading to a pretty shocking ending.
- Clueless (1995) dir. Amy Heckerling
Continuing the theme of questionable step-sibling relationships and 'popularity projects', we can’t forget the 90s teen classic, Clueless. Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Alicia Silverstone steps in as the updated protagonist Cher, a self-styled matchmaker and general social queen.
Cher has the entire school community eating out of the palm of her hands, as well as her widowed father, played by Dan Hedaya. The only other member of her family, ex-step brother Paul Rudd, is much less enamored with Cher’s superficiality but still cares for her.
Throughout the film, Cher works tirelessly to ‘improve’ Tai (Brittany Murphy), which is soon hampered by her own feelings towards her step-brother.
- Easy A (2010) dir. Will Gluck
A nice break from the usual destructive relationships, Emma Stone’s fictional food-themed family in Easy A is the kind you wish you were part of.
From 'family member of the week' dad Dill (Stanley Tucci) and liberal mother Rosemary (Patricia Clarkson) to her adopted brother Chip (oh my god, who told him he was adopted?!).
The Penderghast’s support Olive (Emma Stone) through her traumatic experience with the high school rumour mill using humour and clever word play and should really be the poster-couple for good parenting.
- Garden State (2004) dir. Zach Braff
Natalie Portman stars as Zach Braff’s love interest who is also a compulsive liar. Whilst family troubles seems to be a running theme throughout the film (Zach has become estranged from his father), Natalie’s is the most quirky.
From eccentric mother Olivia to her adopted African brother Titembay, who they used to send letters to until Sam (Portman) got really into ice skating and they forgot about him and he eventually turned up at their door.
Let’s also not forget the peculiar pets, including their over-familiar dog and Jelly the hamster who died due to a hamster wheel accident.
- Parent Trap (1998) dir. Nancy Meyers
Less blended, more a split family that was brought back together, Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan with a dubious British accent meet at summer camp (because it makes total sense for Lindsay Lohan 2 to cross the Atlantic to attend a kids club).
Despite being identical, this only seems to raise mild concern amongst the girls and their fellow camp-mates, until they realize they share a birthday and a torn wedding photograph of their parents and decide switch places.
This is of course in the days pre-fingerprint scanning at airports because their idea initially succeeds, until it is scuppered by dad Dennis Quaid’s plan to marry his money-grabbing girlfriend, Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix).
Twin power prevails of course, eventually uniting Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson... and consequently housekeeper, butler and grandfather.
- The Brady Bunch (1969) creator. Sherwood Schwartz
Premiering in 1969, The Brady Bunch addressed the concept of blended families at a time when they weren’t so common in popular culture.
However, the premise of the popular films and sitcom was based on the statistic that 30% of marriages in the US had children from a previous marriage, so really it was a portrayal of a situation that was fairly common.
Additionally, the show was seen from the children’s point of view, something that was also pretty uncommon. As a whole, the Brady Bunch was a positive portrayal of a mixed family and generally gelled well together, with only the occasional gripe and argument.
- Cinderella (1950) dir. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
The classic fairytale that has forever since given step-families a bad rep.
Following the death of her mother and father, Cinderella now lives with her evil step-mothers and ugly step-sisters who have forced her into the role of servant and cleaner (she’s obviously doing a bad job as the house is overrun with mice).
The step-mother lavishes all her attention and fortune on her two girls until Cinderella’s home falls into disrepair. It all comes good in the end, when Cinderella falls in love with the Prince, gaining a new family and leaving her mice-ridden chateau behind.
- Blended (2014) dir. Frank Coraci
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (haven’t we seen that pair before?) are two victims of a bad blind date who end up at the same South African holiday resort with their respective families. Nightmare, right?
Wrong. As the holiday progresses, Adam and Drew realize the other isn’t so bad after all, and their families bond over the course of the trip.
Blended is released on 23rd May.
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