Title: Just Go with It
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
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Having Adam Sandler headline a comedy movie still almost always guarantees a studio that fans will flock to the theater to see one of the most successful comedians of all time. Sandler thrives in roles in which his character feels he can joke himself out of any situation, and doesn’t have to take life or responsibilities seriously. His new film, ‘Just Go With It,’ co-starring Jennifer Aniston, is his latest project that tries to offer his successful set-up; however, with this movie, Sandler’s care-free, lax attitude happens to be his greatest flaw.
During the campaigning for ‘Just Go With It,’ Columbia Pictures seemed like it was the latest studio to solely appeal to Sandler’s built-in fan-base. The commercials seemed to promise another movie similar in premise and delivery to the comedian’s previous romantic comedies, such as ’50 First Dates.’ While screenwriters Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling do, to some level, deliver a plot-line where Sandler’s character woes the girl of his dreams with his wit and charm, overall, true romantic comedy fans won’t be persuaded to just go with what the actor is delivering.
‘Just Go With It’ follows Sandler’s character, plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel “Danny” Maccabee, as he explains that after being hurt by his fiancée, he decides to pretend he’s in a bad marriage in order to pick up women. But after meeting Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker), a young teacher, at a party, Danny feels that he’s finally met someone with whom he’s made a connection with.
However, when Palmer finds his fake wedding ring, Danny decides to enlist the help of his assistant, Katherine (portrayed by Jennifer Aniston). To win Palmer back, Danny pretends that he’s married to Katherine, but they’re going through a divorce. While at first Katherine is against the whole scheme, she finally decides to play along, even allowing Danny to pretend that her kids, Maggie (played by Bailee Madison) and Michael (portrayed by Griffin Gluck), are his. But complications arise along the way when Danny and Katherine begin to realize that their feelings for each other go far behind being friendly and professional.
What made ‘Just Go with It’ different from ’50 First Dates’ and Sandler’s other romantic comedies is that he barely has any romantic connections with Aniston. While the two are at ease with each other, cracking jokes as friends, it seems unlikely that they would really foster any romantic feelings or attraction towards each other. The two are more comfortable on screen together in the beginning of the movie, when Katherine is constantly making jokes about Danny’s inability to fully commit to anything.
The entire concept of ‘Just Go With It’ is also stretched thin over the course of its plot-line. Danny finds it easier to lie to woman about his personal life to garner their interest for a one-night stand, but keeping the lie going for his entire relationship with Palmer during the whole movie becomes redundant. There are only so many fresh jokes that can be aimed at Danny during a 110-minute movie before it gets stale.
Instead of placing Danny’s fake relationship with Palmer at the fore-front of the plot, Dugan could have made the film more entertaining if he introduced Danny’s doubt about their relationship earlier. While Sandler is known for his comedy, creating a bigger balance between his character’s humor and internal conflicts could have shown more of his versatility as an actor.
The actress who really deserves acclaim for her role is Nicole Kidman, who portrayed Devlin Adams, one of Katherine’s former sorority sisters. Devlin runs into Katherine and Danny while they’re vacationing in Hawaii, and Devlin desperately tries to prove how well her life is going with her husband. Having just come off her Academy Award-nominated performance in the drama ‘Rabbit Hole,’ in which she plays a mother who lost her son, in ‘Just Go With It’ Kidman steals every scene she’s in. Kidman effortlessly makes Devlin pretentious in a witty way, as she goes after what she wants without feeling guilty about it.
Aniston surely hoped Sandler’s success with romantic comedies in the past would help revive her career after her last few movies, including last year’s ‘The Switch’ and ‘The Bounty Hunter,’ flopped with critics and fans alike. Disappointedly, her fans can’t just go with her new film, as its plot is low on ideas and its jokes become repetitive. With the exception of Kidman’s fantastic versatility, comedy fans should just skip ‘Just Go With It’ in theaters, as it offers few laughs and even less of a story.
Written by: Karen Benardello