Just Go With It

2011, Movie, PG-13, 116 mins

Review

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Just Go With It, based on the 1969 film Cactus Flower, is the sixth movie that director Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler have collaborated on, the most recent being last year’s Grown Ups, and that familiarity comes across in this odd comedy. Dugan knows when to let Sandler do his thing -- surreal gags, absurd relationships, and wacky situations -- and when to rein him in, and while Sandler’s character, Danny, is sort of a prickly antihero, he plays him in way that makes you root for him in the end.

Danny (Sandler) is a fourtysomething successful plastic surgeon who pretends to be unhappily married to attract women barely out of college. When he finally meets the girl of his dreams, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), he wants to abandon his game and go all in to be with her, but when she finds his fake wedding ring, Danny scrambles to save face. He tells her he’s in the middle of a divorce and enlists his office assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to pose as his soon-to-be ex-wife in an effort to add credibility to his story. One lie leads to another, though, and soon Danny brings Katherine’s children into his scheme, resulting in a trip to Hawaii that will change all of their lives.

Just Go With It has its flaws, as there’s something strange about this film that goes beyond the premise, but Sandler’s comedic stylings help to overcome the movie’s shortcomings and, in part, can be credited to his leading lady, rom-com queen Jennifer Aniston. The chemistry between Aniston and Sandler is quite apparent as they play off each other with such ease, which helps to lift the story out of the doldrums.

This film puts heavy emphasis on Los Angeles’ obsession with plastic surgery and some of the Frankenstein-esque results that can come from it. There’s a particularly funny scene involving a cocktail party at the mansion of one of Danny’s former patients with some hilarious sight gags from SNL alumns Rachel Dratch, as a plastic-surgery patient with a raised-eyebrow issue, and Kevin Nealon, as a wealthy playboy with a face that’s been stretched just a wee bit too tight. Nicole Kidman makes an appearance as well as Devlin, Katherine’s sorority sister and college rival, who is married to Ian, played by… wait for it… singer-songwriter Dave Matthews! The couple serves as a foil to Danny and Katherine in a late-night luau involving couples-therapy mantras and a hula competition, but their pairing is strange and sort of distracting.

Still, despite the ridiculousness of the overall plot, after a while you sort just forget about that because what really works here is the chemistry between the actors and the type of humor that one has come to expect from an Adam Sandler vehicle. This movie may not be as iconic as some of Sandler’s earlier films (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore), but as the title implies -- just go with it. leave a comment --Alaina O’Connor

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