- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by David Medsker
he two leads haven’t made two good movies back-to-back in over a decade, and the director made the Onion AV Club’s dubious list of directors you didn’t know you hated. On paper, “Just Go with It” looked like a perfect storm of suck, the unholy joining of B-list actors, a C-list director, and a D-list story line. And while the movie is still riddled with problems, it’s far more entertaining than it has a right to be. There is a gonzo nature to it, similar to another Sandler/Dugan pairing, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” that becomes intoxicating, even when the events taking place on screen are implausible.
Adam Sandler is Danny, a shlub who discovered just before his wedding as a 20-something that his bride-to-be had cheated on him, but ultimately he landed a hot girl at a bar because he was still wearing his wedding ring. Cut to the present, where Danny is a successful plastic surgeon who still uses the ring to bed babes until he meets the beautiful Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) at a party. He thinks she might be the one, but when she finds his wedding ring, he knows he can’t tell her about his con, so he tells a bigger con: he was married, but he’s getting divorced, and he asks his assistant, single mom Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to pose as his fake ex-wife. One slip leads to another, and before you know it, Katherine’s kids are part of the game, as is Danny’s cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson), who poses as Katherine’s new boyfriend. Once Katherine’s son blackmails them into a trip to Hawaii, things get even more complicated when Katherine runs into her college nemesis Devlin (Nicole Kidman), and Danny and Katherine reluctantly pose as a couple in order to impress her.
It’s a house of cards built on a waterbed, to be sure. Yes, Palmer is younger and therefore supposedly naïve, but they make a point of giving her a spot-on bullshit detector early on, only for it to fail for the rest of the movie. Katherine’s daughter Maggie (Bailee Madison), who’s taking acting lessons, decides to play her role as Danny’s daughter with a cockney accent. Eddie, once he hears the name Danny gave him was Dolph Lundgren, wears Mr. Magoo-type glasses and speaks like Der Fuhrer. It’s all completely ridiculous, and at the same time it doesn’t matter. Like the characters themselves say over and over, just go with it. It’s a surprisingly easy thing to do.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the movie, though, is the chemistry between Sandler and Aniston. It’s fantastic, better than Aniston has had with anyone in years, possibly ever. Their scenes have an effortlessness – and even more surprising is the leisurely pace of those scenes, where the characters actually talk to each other, rather than speak at each other for the sake of advancing the plot – that puts both actors’ best qualities on display. Sandler has gotten very good at playing the straight man who throws the occasional jab, and Aniston is at her most likable here, pimping Danny with various faults in front of Palmer but at the same time careful to help him out any way she can. Kidman and her husband Ian, played by Dugan’s favorite utility player Dave Matthews (after Steve Buscemi, of course), are just a freak show B-story, but it’s fun to watch a Serious Actress™ like Kidman throw herself into a character so vain and ugly. And give Brooklyn Decker credit for turning the trophy wife Palmer into someone real and, even better, sweet and likable.
“Just Go with It” is not a great movie, and at an hour and 50 minutes it is probably longer than it should be, but for as absurd as the premise is, the script has more heart than your typical Sandler comedy, and God knows Aniston hasn’t touched anything this warm since “Marley & Me.” The perfect storm of suck turned out to be a quantified win for all concerned. What a pleasant surprise.
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
The Blu-ray/DVD pack of "Just Go with It" is positively bursting with extras. There are two audio commentaries, one by Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson and Sandler's producing partners, and another by director Dennis Dugan. There are deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a slew of small featurettes about Brooklyn Decker, Hawaii, the crew, Dennis Dugan, the chemistry between Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, the movie's cameo appearances, and Kevin Nealon trying to punk Los Angeles merchants while wearing his overly botoxed makeup. Anyone who buys this set will not feel cheated.