Movie Review: Just Go With It
By Matthew Huntley
February 23, 2011
Adam Sandler has so many hits under his belt he must have carte blanche over his projects. So why doesn’t he choose to make one that’s less stupid than Just Go With It? In real life, Sandler seems like a nice guy — funny, generous and giving. It’s just a shame one of his qualities isn’t better taste in comedy.
In the movie, Sandler plays Danny, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and devious womanizer. After he learned a harsh truth about his fiancée on their wedding day, he took to wearing a wedding band around his finger as a way to bed women. Apparently, women are more open to sleeping with a man if he’s married (the movie doesn’t consider the moral dilemmas taking place).
Then Danny meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a hot grade school teacher he thinks he could spend the rest of his life with. The only problem is she finds his wedding ring and, rather than tell her the truth, he says he’s getting divorced and asks Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), his assistant, to pose as his ex-wife, and then eventually her kids (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) as his children. Pretty soon, Danny and Katherine are living so many lies she suggests making index cards just to keep up.
For reasons that are only convenient for the plot, Danny, Katherine, the kids, Palmer and Danny’s annoying cousin, Eddie (Nick Swardson), take a trip to Hawaii for some bonding time. It’s here where Katherine runs into her old sorority nemesis (Nicole Kidman) and her husband (Dave Matthews). In order to save face, Katherine too resorts to calling Danny her husband and by this point in the movie, I think there’s only one main character who isn’t lying.
Of course, the lies are just an excuse for the movie to slap together scenes of would-be comedy before reaching the inevitable conclusion we all know is coming. But if the whole point of the movie is just to have fun, is this really the best they could come up with? On a credibility level, the movie grows more frustrating the more it asks us to believe Palmer would ever be so thick and stupid to believe anything Danny and Katherine are telling her. I know we’re supposed to allow the movie its premise, but even this is asking too much since Danny and Katherine are so unconvincing when they make up the truth on the spot. The movie is yet another victim of the idiot plot syndrome, which asks that characters act dumb just so the movie can go on.
In spite of the plot, there are other reasons to condemn Just Go With It, and that’s simply because it’s not funny. On a comedic level, the movie strikes out and we’re mostly left rolling our eyes. Examples include Kevin Nealon as a man who’s had one too many facelifts and tanning bed sessions; Katherine’s daughter pretending to have a British accent; Eddie pretending to be German and giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a sheep; Katherine’s son sleep walking and going number two on Eddie’s hand. Simply put, these moments are not funny. They’re better suited for a lowbrow sitcom.
All around, the movie is just sloppily constructed. The screenplay, originally based on a French stage play, doesn’t even seem fully realized. Its characters and situations, hardly developed, are mere pawns of the plot and the movie cares little about the questions and details any smart person is thinking about while watching it. It was directed by Dennis Dugan, a veteran of Sandler comedies, and he seems to have thrown everything together on a whim, only with an expensive budget.
I bet it would be a lot of fun to work with Adam Sandler. I can just imagine all the camaraderie and good times being had on set. He seems to make his movies a very personal affair, both for his family and his friends. But despite a joyous production for Just Go With It, it’s the final product that remains a problem. It may have been fun to work on, but one look at the finished cut and you wonder why it was ever made.