Just Go With It
Release Date: February 18, 2011
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling (screenplay), I.A.L. Diamond (screenplay Cactus Flower), Abe Burrows (stage play), Pierre Barillet and
Jean-Pierre Grédy (French play)
Stars: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Just Go With It seems like an apropos title for Adam Sandler‘s latest film, since I imagine it was a familiar refrain on the set.
“Do we really need three different scenes featuring a guy getting hit in the groin?”
“Just go with it.”
“Are we really having Dave Matthews pick up a coconut with his butt cheeks?”
“Just go with it.”
“We aren’t really having a kid poop on Nick Swardson‘s hand, are we?”
“Just go with it.”
In this film, once again Adam Sandler plays an ultra-successful man-child who gets entangled in a messy situation thanks to a series of wacky, contrived circumstances. This time around he is Danny, a wealthy plastic surgeon who was scorned by his fiancée on their wedding day 20 years ago, so he’s decided to spend his life pretending to be married, which allows him to pick up girls using a sob story about his terrible wife and to avoid any real commitment after he hooks up with these girls.
This horrible, pathetic plan has worked for the past 20 years, but then he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), who he inexplicably falls for instantly and is willing to settle down with after spending only one day together. However, Palmer finds the fake wedding ring in his pocket and thinks he is married, so Danny must convince his office manager, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to pretend to be his soon-to-be-ex-wife in order to keep seeing Palmer. Katherine is divorced with two kids so through yet another wacky misunderstanding, Palmer thinks the kids are Danny’s and wants to get to know them better too.
To further complicate things, Danny’s cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson), weasels his way into the picture by pretending to be Katherine’s new man, Dolph. And, when the whole clan takes an impromptu trip to Hawaii to bond, they run into Katherine’s old high school rival, Devlin (Nicole Kidman), so Katherine introduces yet another lie by forcing Danny to pretend to be happily married to her in order to one up Devlin. (Seriously, it’s a plot so convoluted that even Three’s Company writers are rolling their eyes at it.)
The film doesn’t work for several reasons, the biggest one being that it’s just not funny. But on top of that, Danny isn’t a very likable or sympathetic character and his relationship with Palmer seems incredibly forced.
The opening of the film, where Danny is scorned by his fiancée, is supposed to garner sympathy for him so that you support his scheme to pick up women by pretending to be married, but it just doesn’t work because the scene is played more for laughs than real emotion. Since it doesn’t work, it just makes him seem like a douchebag for going along with this cheap ploy for 20 years.
Also making Danny unlikable is the film’s weird obsession with showing you how incredibly wealthy he is (he pays for the trip to Hawaii himself, along with week-long stays in the two most expensive suites in the hotel, plus he drops a ton of cash on Katherine’s wardrobe in order to make her a convincing plastic surgeon’s wife). Now, being flush with cash doesn’t necessarily make him unlikable, but the fact that every time he spends money he complains about it incessantly does.
The film does try to make him a more sympathetic character as it progresses by showing that he cares about Katherine’s kids, but by that point it’s too late (especially since he spends the first half of the film just using the kids to impress Palmer.)
Danny’s relationship with Palmer, which is obviously a vital part of the story, doesn’t work at all. Sandler and Decker have no real chemistry together and there’s nothing that shows you why this is the girl that he is suddenly ready to stop all of the games and settle down with. Also, Palmer is more of a plot device than an actual character, she is thinly-developed and has no real defining characteristics besides being pleasant (and the fact that she looks fantastic in a bikini). She is also apparently the dumbest woman in the world, since she believes every ridiculous lie Danny and everyone else in this charade tells her without ever questioning any of it.
In spite of an incredibly lackluster script, the actors involved do try to make the most of it. Jennifer Aniston is quite charming in her role and in a better film she could have made Katherine a really great character. Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck, who play her kids, are really cute and fun to watch. Dave Matthews and Nicole Kidman were also really enjoyable – their scenes in the film were easily the best (though sadly, that’s not really saying much).
At the end of the day though, the actors just can’t save this movie from its terrible screenplay. The premise is nonsensical, the jokes aren’t funny and there’s not enough real emotion to convincingly pull off the romantic storyline in the film. If you are thinking about seeing this film, save yourself the money and just go watch an old episode of Three’s Company instead.
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his reviews, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org.