By Dirk Sonniksen | February 11, 2011
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writer(s): Allen Loeb (screenplay), Timothy Dowling (screenplay), I.A.L. Diamond (screenplay “Cactus Flower”), Abe Burrows (stage play), Pierre Barillet (French play), Jean-Pierre Grédy (French play)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews
The tagline is, “Sometimes a guy’s best wingman…is a wingwoman.” I didn’t know what that was as it appeared to be a term that originated either before I started having sex, or after I stopped. Luckily, I had the Internet at my fingertips, and before long, I was in the know. You might ask yourself, what gives this guy any authority to review a film when he is so out of touch with reality, and quite honestly, you would have a point. I like to think of it as having a unique sensibility for all things mysterious; an inane gift to make sense of a world that has passed me by.
Indeed, from my online studies I learned that Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) is in fact Danny’s (Adam Sandler) “wingwoman.” Danny, a successful plastic surgeon, has found the woman of his dreams (young, dumb, and horny) and has initiated the services of Katherine, his secretary, to help him land this blonde bombshell, but there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). See, Danny is a divorcée who never took off the ring. Simply put, Danny can pick up woman only when pretending to be an abused husband; yes, with Danny weaving a yarn of pain and sorrow via his past marriage, he has no sooner taken his heels off the barstool than he finds himself bedding down another hottie.
All this freewheeling living has Danny’s libido satiated to the highest high, that is, until he stumbles upon Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), the aforementioned blonde. All is well as Danny works his magic, only Danny is working it without the marriage angle, which eventually comes back to wreak havoc when Palmer discovers Danny’s ring in his pants pocket. Shocked by the revelation that Danny is married, Palmer does her best to look forlorn, and Danny does his best to lie through his teeth. With wheels turning in that diabolical noggin of his, Danny comes up with the most logical solution: employ the services of Katherine to act as his token wife (with kids in tow), whom he is actually divorcing (or pretending to be divorcing). And so, as you can imagine, all kinds of craziness ensues as a result of Danny’s ploy to land Palmer as his girlfriend. As so it goes, on and on and on…
And so with what we know about the film so far, it should come as no surprise that this is an Adam Sandler film that features typical Sandler shtick. Just Go With It starts out as a real knuckle-dragger, with Sandler and Aniston plodding along with dry dialogue, attempting to set up what will eventually become an over-calculated attempt to pack this film full of one liners that leave the audience chuckling at times, but failing to bring down the house. Insert typical romantic comedy ending and you’ll have nailed just about every Sandler film.
As for Sandler’s performance, it deviates little from his previous work, and although he does make some inroads on an emotional level (it’s subtle, but it’s there), this silly script quickly makes mince meat of any endeavor into an alternate genre. Jennifer Aniston plays her usual adorable self, and while I try desperately to not like her, I can’t help but get that “I just want to hug you” feeling whenever she appears. Aniston tends to carry Just Go With It, and while she is not exactly reinventing the wheel, Aniston’s Katherine is the best Katherine you’re going to get. For flavor, Just Go With It includes Nick Swardson as the whacky sidekick, Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck as über-cute children with über-cute traits most children don’t possess, and Nicole Kidman as Katherine’s evil high school nemesis.
Just Go With It is a bit like watching an 80’s romantic comedy (it does have that 80’s innocence), but without the nostalgia. It’s like an SNL skit, but one of the more forgettable ones. That Just Go With It is an Adam Sandler vehicle of sorts most likely contributed to its dour, lackluster flavor, and that Aniston did her usual thing is most likely the reason this film didn’t fail completely. It was interesting to attempt to gauge the audience’s reaction to Just Go With It; while the script was jammed with the comedic element, the vast majority of the jokes got little more than a chuckle from the crowd. I’ll admit that I was prone to the same short bursts of glee, but overall, I couldn’t get past the ridiculous premise and one liners delivered in that stilted way (Sandler might as well turn to the camera and say, “Ta Da!”) that is conjured up time and again in these boilerplate scripts.