Well, let’s be completely honest, you either like Adam Sandler or you don’t. There seems to be very little middle ground. He’s the Marmite of leading comedy actors. Yet just take a look at the box office of most of his movies and you have to admit that someone keeps going along to pay for the pleasure of watching his movies in cinemas. This film took over $100M, the weak Grown Ups took well over $100M (and, personally, I think that movie was less amusing than this one). Even Jack & Jill, a film with a trailer so jaw-droppingly unbelievable and awful and just cringe-inducing, may get over that magic number when the worldwide profits are counted. He’s obviously doing something right. Despite some major mis-steps and a habit for putting on the most annoying voice possible, I like Sandler. I find him to be a very likeable guy, a regular Joe who has somehow stumbled on to a secret way to keep making lots and lots of money and who will keep performing for his fans until they all, inevitably, turn on him.
But let’s get to reviewing the movie itself, Just Go With It. Sandler stars as a plastic surgeon (cue a number of jokes about some amusing mishaps needing fixed by surgery) who uses his wedding ring to help weave a web of lies that always helps him get lucky with the ladies. His assistant, played by Jennifer Aniston, disapproves and has told her two children (one overacting young girl and one quiet young boy) all about the bad choices that her boss makes. Things look set to change, however, when Sandler meets up with the lovely Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker) and enjoys a fantastic night. But it all turns sour when Palmer finds the wedding ring and assumes the worst. So Sandler does the logical thing, he enlists Aniston to pretend to be his soon-to-be-ex-wife and explains to Palmer that the divorce is almost finalised. This almost works out well until Palmer hears Aniston talking about her children and, before you can say “plot contrivance allowing for the cast to have a nice holiday”, it’s not long until everyone is enjoying some time getting to know each other in Hawaii.
It’s far-fetched and it’s ridiculous but I must admit that I laughed a number of times while watching Just Go With It. Sandler is on pretty good form, especially when arguing with the children (played by Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck, both of them proving to be scene stealers extraordinaire) who he needs to keep onside. Jennifer Aniston has proven her comedy skills over the years and does very well here, especially in her moments with Nick Swardson (who plays Sandler’s pesky cousin). Madison and Gluck, as I just mentioned, are both superb and show great delight as the children effectively holding Sandler to ransom. Brookly Decker is gorgeous and very sweet, though her character suffers the most from the way events have to be rushed to pack the timeline into the movie. Swardson is hilarious, especially when he becomes “Dolph”, and there’s a fun/annoying turn from Nicole Kidman.
You can’t imagine that Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling had to put much effort into the screenplay but, to be fair, it doesn’t feel too lazily put together and actually works to keep you distracted from the absuridty of the main plotline while, paradoxically, keeping you entertained by it. Dennis Dugan also, you feel, has a rather easy job as the director. Story foundation, gags and gags, a develpment, gags and gags, obstacles, gags and gags, predictable third act, finale. And roll credits.
If you’re as easily amused as I am, and/or if you’re an Adam Sandler fan, then this will provide adequate entertainment for its runtime. The first half has some genuinely decent laughs with the world of plastic surgery (especially with one woman plagued by a runaway eyebrow) and the second half does well enough with the escalating nonsense and farcical elements. You won’t be won over if you can’t stand Sandler but, then again, the same can be said for most of his films.
DIRECTOR: DENNIS DUGAN
WRITER: ALLAN LOEB, TIMOTHY DOWLING (BASED ON THE SCREENPLAY FOR “CACTUS FLOWER” BY I. A. L. DIAMOND WHICH WAS BASED ON A PLAY BY ABE BURROWS WHICH WAS BASED ON A FRENCH PLAY BY PIERRE BARILLET AND JEAN-PIERRE GREDY)
STARS: ADAM SANDLER, JENNIFER ANISTON, BROOKLYN DECKER, NICK SWARDSON, BAILEE MADISON, GRIFFIN GLUCK, NICOLE KIDMAN
RUNTIME: 117 MINS APPROX