20 June 2011
Just Go with It
2011, 117mins, 12
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writer (s): Timothy Dowling, Allan Loeb
Cast includes: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson
UK Release Date: 11th February 2011
Adam Sandler has shown an aversion to raw silliness lately, instead preferring to indulge his serious side (2009’s wonderful “Funny People”) or slum it for undeserved financial glory (last year’s “Grown Ups”). “Just Go with It” is far from the comedian’s best work, but it’s a relatively inoffensive offering, opting to rely on decent chemistry and the odd solid gag rather than simply plastering recognizable names on a poster. Granted, the pairing of Sandler and Aniston is as high profile as these things tend to get, but the actors actually seem to enjoy working together, granting “Just Go with It” a laidback and partially agreeable tone.
Danny (Adam Sandler) uses a fake wedding ring to pick up women at bars, concocting stories of domestic abuse and fearsome harridans to cajole pity sex out of his trusting targets. When Danny is called out by 23-year old stunner Palmer (swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, giving an all about the boobies performance ), he is forced to spin a web of lies, roping in longtime colleague Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) and her children to play the part of his ex-family. Before committing to Danny, Palmer needs proof that he and Katherine are through, the group thusly marching off to Hawaii in order to try and work things out. However despite Palmer’s natural beauty and winning personality, Danny can’t help but start to feel a connection with Katherine, their friendship slowly budding into something deeper.
“Just Go with It” is at least during its opening two thirds sporadically amusing, something that I’ve struggled to say about Sandler fare for several years now. After suffering through bombs like “50 First Dates” and “Click”, it’s reassuring to see a bit of that old magic resurface, “Just Go with It” unafraid to breakout the silly from time to time. Danny is a plastic surgeon by trade, the movie pummeling this facet of the story from the beginning, mining laughs from the imaginative deformities his patients suffer from. These gags are designed purely for lowbrow giggles, but that doesn’t change the fact some of them land. Of course at points the feature’s willingness to goofball it up is a detractor, namely when Nick Swardson enters the frame, contributing a fiercely hammy turn as a fake Austrian suitor for Aniston. It’s funny for about 30 seconds, but Swardson and director Dennis Dugan allow this caricature to dominate multiple sequences, the actor’s one note and tiresomely uncreative vamping grating well before the final reel. Still, when “Just Go with It” is content to be ridiculous it’s generally pretty tolerable, the film finding a winning balance between typical Sandler antics and competently assembled romantic shenanigans for most of its middle act.
Sandler is fine, not particularly excitable, but better than he was in “Grown Ups”. Aniston on the other hand is very good, showing that after her own series of clunkers (namely last year’s execrable “The Bounty Hunter”) her funny bone is still operational. She spars with Sandler sweetly, the two creating a warmly antagonistic dynamic, albeit one convincing enough to leave the film’s conclusion worthless. “Just Go with It” culminates in a preposterously formulaic fashion, the film’s finale a sluggish trawl through inert genre beats and schmaltzy scripting. Nicole Kidman pops up to alleviate some of the pain, bringing a delightful strain of spiteful energy to her performance as Katherine’s college enemy, but even she can’t rectify the production’s flaccid ending.
I don’t know if I can heartily recommend seeking “Just Go with It” out, after all my stance on the film might be overly informed by low expectations. On theatrical release earlier this year the movie was critically savaged, although it did provide its leading man with yet another sturdy box-office hit. Instead I would wait until you encounter the picture by accident, perhaps on TV or during a long plane journey. In those circumstances I could see “Just Go with It” providing a soft, bloated yet bearable method of killing a few hours.
A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2011