Over the last 16 years, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have made three movies together, The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and now Blended, which casts them as single parents who, following a disastrous blind date, get stuck sharing a family vacation together. As the parents of two daughters each—Sandler’s are 8 and 5, Barrymore’s are 20 months and 3 weeks old—it makes perfect sense that they’ve embraced playing mom and dad on screen.
Sandler has been married for nearly 11 years to Jacqueline Titone, who converted to Judaism, and Barrymore, who is not Jewish, wed Jewish art consultant Will Kopelman in June 2012. “I thought about converting, but it takes a lot of work and time. I love the Jewish faith. I love family values. I can get behind those,” she said recently, adding that she goes to the Central Synagogue with her in-laws when she’s in New York. “I try to be a good shiksa wife.”
Steaming up the Screen
It didn’t work out for Andi Dorfman and Bachelor Juan Pablo, but the Jewish assistant district attorney from Atlanta got the best consolation prize: As The Bachelorette, she’ll get to choose from 25 eligible men starting May 19 on ABC. No word yet if any of the contenders are Jewish, but two previous couples that met and married on the show are interfaith: Jewish Bachelor Jason Mesnick married Catholic Molly Malaney, and Christian Bachelorette Ashley Hebert married Jewish J.P. Rosenbaum in an interfaith ceremony.
You don’t have to like sports to love Million Dollar Arm, a terrific movie based on the true story of washed-up agent J.B. Bernstein (Mad Men’s Jon Hamm), who stages a contest in India to find the next baseball phenom and save his career. He also becomes less selfish, thanks to his evolving friendship with the doctor renting his guesthouse (Lake Bell). More than a fish out of water tale, it says a lot about appreciating other cultures, and there’s a nice scene in which Bernstein, who is Jewish, joins his Hindu friends in prayer.
On a more serious note, two worthy films on DVD exemplify interfaith values. The documentary Nicky’s Family, about the efforts of a Christian English businessman named Nicholas Winton to rescue hundreds of Czech children from the Nazis in 1938-39, is told via reenactments, family photos, and testimonies of the adult evacuees, culminating in a very touching reunion (keep Kleenex handy!). The Jewish Cardinal, mentioned in our previous column, is both about Cardinal Lustiger’s personal conflicts of faith as a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism and how he handles clashes between Catholics and Jews, particularly over a convent at Auschwitz. The provocatively absorbing story will be available on DVD May 20.
In Words and Pictures, about a rivalry-turned-romance between two teachers played by Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, opening May 23, Amy Brenneman (Private Practice, Reign) co-stars as a school board member and Owen’s former lover. Protestant on her father’s side and Jewish on her mother’s, Brenneman is married to Jewish director Brad Silberling. She’ll also star opposite Justin Theroux in HBO’s rapture-themed series The Leftovers, premiering June 29.
Also coming to HBO is The Normal Heart, based on the Tony-winning play about the early days of the AIDS epidemic and starring Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch and Matt Bomer. Premiering May 26, it was written by Jewish playwright and gay activist Larry Kramer, who married his lifelong partner David Webster last July.