Review: Just Go with It

Considering the sorry state of American romantic comedies, Just Go with It’s wholesale predictability is a moot point.

Just Go with It
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Considering the sorry state of American romantic comedies, Just Go with It’s wholesale predictability is a moot point; its only means of differentiating itself from the annual plethora of rom-coms is through competent execution of formula. In that regard, this Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston lark offers up almost enough absurdist juvenilia to help compensate for its rote narrative and the dependably dreary direction of regular Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan.

Based on 1969’s Cactus Flower (and its theatrical French source material), Sandler’s latest boasts a title that unsubtly addresses its audience, what with its ludicrously farcical story flaunting reality at every available turn. Taking place in Sandler’s typical fantasyland, where he doesn’t shave and wears worn T-shirts but is coveted by beauties, the whirligig proceedings involve a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Danny (Sandler), who, spurned at the altar as a young man, discovered that the key to bedding hotties was pretending to be married. However, while attempting to woo elementary school teacher Palmer (Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker), an immature bombshell who adores ‘N Sync, she finds his fake marital ring and, as a cover story, he claims to be getting divorced from Katherine (Aniston), his assistant (and obvious perfect match) who has two kids that he’s also forced to say are his own.

Throw in Danny’s cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson) posing as Katherine’s Germanic sheep-selling boyfriend, as well as a trip to Hawaii by the whole gang during which Katherine’s hated school rival, Devlin (Nicole Kidman), shows up with her iPod-creator husband (Dave Matthews), and you have some—if not a complete, believe it or not—idea of Just Go With It’s complication-overloaded plot. With questions of inner-vs.-outer beauty negated by the fact that Aniston proves as bikini-fit as Decker, this wealth of material primarily serves to pad out the film’s conventionally mushy backbone. Nonetheless, it also keeps the action frantic and frivolous, which in turn sporadically distracts attention away from Sandler and Aniston’s cute if lukewarm chemistry, the one-dimensionality of Decker’s charming cheeriness, and the desperation of numerous gags, most notably one involving Swardson giving CPR to a sheep.


Still, compared to last summer’s abysmally lazy Grown Ups, these shenanigans at least boast a basic three-act arc, and upchuck so many stupid jokes that a handful hit their mark, even if more than a few (directed at overweight, pregnant, and/or non-Caucasian females) exhibit the genre’s typically shallow attitude toward women. With considerable justification, Dugan’s inexpressive camera drools over both Decker and Aniston’s toned bodies, although in terms of flawlessness, nothing here tops Kidman gamely going along with being the china-skin-perfect antagonist in a comedy chockablock with plastic surgery gags.

 Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews, Kevin Nealon, Rachel Dratch  Director: Dennis Dugan  Screenwriter: Allan Leob, Timothy Dowling  Distributor: Columbia Pictures  Running Time: 116 min  Rating: PG-13  Year: 2011  Buy: Video

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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