It seems that it doesn’t actually matter what Adam Sandler does or
how many of his movies get panned, they still continue to make money.
Last year’s Grown Ups, despite having all the charm of a desiccated
cockroach made $270m. Just Go With It plays out in a similar vein and
will test the patience of even the most optimistic of cinema goers.
Adam Sandler plays Danny, a wealthy plastic surgeon who routinely
uses a wedding ring in order to pick up women. After 20 years of
successful philandering his plan backfires when he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker),
who finds the ring in his pocket after a night together and goes
ballistic. Instead of coming clean about his duplicity, Danny digs
himself in deeper when he tells her that he’s getting a divorce and
subsequently convinces his long-suffering assistant Katherine (Aniston) to pose as his wife.
After a ridiculous series of events, the three of them end up in
Hawaii accompanied by Katherine’s children (Bailee Madison and Griffin
Gluck – now ostensibly Danny’s children) and Danny’s best friend Eddie
(long time Sandler collaborator Nick Swardson), who’s tagged along
pretending to be a Katherine’s new lover – a heavily accented Swedish
(or German, it’s hard to tell) geek who sells sheep online.
Directed by Dennis Dugan (who’s no stranger to Sandler films
both good and bad), Just Go With It lacks humour, wit or sense. But it
seems Dugan’s going to have the last laugh as his last film Grown Ups
was also set in Hawaii. It might be a cookie-cutter film with little
merit but he spent three months filming it in a tropical paradise – he
clearly knows something we don’t.
It’s reliant, as you’d expect, on obvious sight gags (look a
woman with a massive eyebrow), slapstick (people getting hit in the nuts
is a prerequisite for any Sandler comedy), and Sandler’s typical
over-reactionary hot-headedness, none of which succeed in raising a
It’s not all bad. Jennifer Aniston can do rom-com in her sleep and
she has some surprising chemistry with Sandler but for the most part
she’s relegated to the straight man, cleaning up his messes like a
mother after her infant’s sick.
Sandler’s rapport with the kids is actually quite convincing; scenes
in which they negotiate the terms of their complicity as well as pose
for staged family photographs are probably the best in the film but
Baillee Madison is unbearable from the get go. Deciding early on that
she’s going to affect a Mary Poppins-esque English accent, her nasal
cor-blimey-guvnor cockneyisms and relentless precociousness are a
Worse is Swardson, who, having now invented a persona for
himself as a sheep-farmer from Sweden called Dolph Lungren (don’t ask)
is drawn into a ridiculous scene where he has to give mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation to a choking sheep. It’s about as funny as it sounds.
Even more bewildering is the appearance of Nicole Kidman as
Katherine’s old ultra-competitive sorority sister which leads to yet
more lies (this time from Katherine). With so many conflicting stories
floating about, you’d think the comedy would come fast and easy but all
we get is a hula off – an excuse for the female stars to show off how
much time they’ve spent in the gym. After last week’s Oscar-nominated
Rabbit Hole, it’s a baffling cameo.
Just Go With It is a derivative, lazy comedy, almost completely
devoid of laughs. Even slow motion bikini shots of Brooklyn Decker
can’t save this one.