A film review by Craig J. Koban February 24, 2011

  

JUST GO WITH IT zero stars

2011, PG-13, 116 mins.

 

Danny: Adam Sandler / Katherine: Jennifer Aniston / Devlin Adams: Nicole Kidman / Eddie: Nick Swardson / Palmer: Brooklyn Decker / Maggie: Bailee Madison / Michael: Griffin Gluck / Ian Maxtone Jones: Dave Matthews / Adon: Kevin Nealon

Directed by Dennis Dugan /. Screenplay by Allan Loeb and Timorthy Dowling.

The descriptor ďan Adam Sandler ComedyĒ is borderline oxymoronic.  To label his comedies as funny would be like saying that Toyota has a zero defect rate for its brakes.  The more Sandler comedies I watch Ė scratch that, make that pitifully suffer through - the more Iíve come to the conclusion that heís not really interested in actually being funny.  After all, the genre is (according to the Wikipedia definition) ďany humorous discourse intended to amuse its audience.Ē   

That definition excludes Sandlerís efforts, seeing as they rarely, if ever, adhere to the definition.  He is not interested in making comedies.  How could he?  He never appears to understand how unfunny they are.  Heís more compelled with disseminating the "Sandler Brand", which includes  films that are lowbrow, juvenile, grating, desperate, and unavoidably laugh free where the star slums his way through the same smirky, mumbling, and smugly one note performances that is just audible enough to warrant a big fat pay check.  

JUST GO WITH it is a new romantic comedy that is, amazing as it seems, based on the 1969 film CACTUS FLOWER, which in turn was adapted from an earlier Broadway stage play, which too was based upon a French play FLEUR DE CACTUS.  JUST GO WITH IT involves the re-teaming of director Dennis Dugan and Sandler, who have previously combined to make five films including HAPPY GILMORE, BIG DADDY, I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY, YOU DONíT MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, and last yearís GROWN UPS, and if anyone can find five more mortifyingly putrid comedies than email me and set me straight.  Sandler and Duggan superficially want to inject the elements of the original French farce into the romantic comedy genre and the ďSandler BrandĒ, but I have my doubts as to whether they have ever seen FLEUR DE CACTUS, not to mention that they have no grasp on what a true farce embodies. 

JUST GO WITH IT  involves a screenplay that seems like it was drunkenly written on one side of a cocktail napkin.  Sandler plays Danny, a wealthy and accomplished L.A. plastic surgeon, so you just know that we will have as many lame and cheap sight gags involving botoxed faces (cue Kevin Nealon cameo), breast implants (cue actress with prosthetics showing one boob bigger than the other), and other horrifically botched procedures to score would-be big laughs.  Danny is a bachelor that has issues with committing to anyone in a relationship, but he does manage to bang as many uber hot and shapely women on the side as possible.  How does a dude that looks like Sandler accomplish this?  He wears a wedding ring to bars and makes women feel sorry for him based on fake tales of his wife physically abusing him.  Hardy har. 

Dannyís sexually promiscuous lifestyle is thrown a curveball with the appearance of Palmer (former swimsuit model turned actress Ė now thatís funny in itself Ė Brooklyn Decker), who enters his life and, after one night with him, she finds herself deeply attracted to him.  Riiiiggghhht.   Danny feels her to be the love of his life that heís been looking for, but before he can commit to her she finds that pesky wedding band in his pocket and is furious.  Now, hereís where "The Idiot Plot Syndrome" really takes off:  Instead of just given her a simple explanation, Danny tells Palmer that he is actually married and is filing for a divorce.  She cools off with this news, but is still not entirely convinced.  Danny promises her that heíll introduce her to his wife, which complicates matters. 

In order to secure Palmerís trust, Danny pleads to his assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Anniston, who has a superhuman ability to barely hold her disgust for this material will appearing composed and dignified through most of the film) to impersonate his wife.  While she has a great amount of disdain for Dannyís lifestyle, she begrudgingly agrees.  This leads to one of those teeth-clenchingly phony and demeaning montages where Danny needs to take Katherine Ė whoís super hot, but dresses meagerly and is not aware of her hotness Ė on a shopping spree in Beverly Hills, seeing as he feels that Brooklyn needs to totally believe Katherine as a plastic surgeonís wife.  Trust me: if you look like Jennifer Aniston, you donít need help looking attractive, but only in the la-la land that is an Adam Sandler comedy does the schlepy male lead need to take the woman by the hand and show her how to become a babe.  

 

 

The deception begins over diner, but the situation gets even more complicated when Katherineís two children enter the picture, and now Danny lies about being a father to Palmer.  Through a series of events too tedious and headache inducing to relay, Danny finds himself taking Palmer, Katherine and her kids, along with his cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson, not as annoying as Sandlerís usual side kick, Rob Schneider, but a close second) to Hawaii.  Why Hawaii?  Probably because it meant that Sandler could take all of his buddies to a sunny and hot resort to hang out and film for several weeks.  With a painful inevitably, Dannyís deception starts to teeter and, wouldnít you know it, Katherine starts to fall for the lug in the process.   

JUST GO WITH IT is a disturbingly unfunny romantic comedy where its own vapid mediocrity sticks out like a middle finger at the audiences.  Itís tough to say whatís most unappealing: that this sour, egregiously unoriginal, and tediously puerile comedy goes on for the tortuous running time of nearly two hours (dear Lord!) or that Iíve seen 20 minute TV sitcoms that have had more modest chuckles during their opening scenes than what I endured during the entirety of JUST GO WITH IT.  Whatís definitely demoralizing to see is that during this utterly witless comic deadzone of despair we are giving a portal into a fantasy world that could never, ever possibly exist in the real world that I know.  The planet I populate has no human being that behaves and reacts to a crisis as this filmís characters do. 

We also get the obligatory Sandlerian grab-bag of mercilessly perverse and desperate gags and jokes: we see a young boy poop on a manís hand while its dunked in the toilet (donít ask); a scene where cousin Eddie gives CPR to a dying sheep (definitely donít ask); a moment involving a man grabbing a coconut with just his ass (more impressive than funny); and then lots of jokes about, in random order, gay, obese, elderly, Hispanic, and Jewish people (the latter who are presented in an opening sequence with grotesquely oversized noses).  I mean, this is the freakiní 21st Century, people.  Are we not above this now? 

And, please excuse my French, but what the fuck is Nicole Kidman doing in this film?  Honestly?  She did not appear in the ads at all, and for good reason.  She plays an old college acquaintance and rival of Katherine that shows up at Hawaii to exacerbate matters more for everyone.  When not overacting to ear-splitting levels, she is forced to submit to the filmís most offensive moment: a talent competition at the Hawaiian hotel during which she and Aniston join other female guests (some of which are grossly overweight and others pushing 80-years) to dress up in hula bikinis, shake their asses, and have the audience vote their least favorite off.  The shriveled up elderly woman gets the boot, as does the massively rotund woman, who screams, ďItís fixed!!Ē  How funny.  How very, very, very funny.  Kidman and Aniston should be absolutely ashamed of themselves here.

What truly frightened me about JUST GO WITH IT, though, was how many female audience members laughed all through the film.  The limitless misogyny on display here is repellent.  Hereís a film where an unattainably gorgeous woman like Aniston is only able to fully harness her attractiveness with the help and money of Danny (only in this filmís subhuman universe is Danny unable to see how gorgeous Katharine is from the get go).  Furthermore, what possible attraction do Palmer and Katherine have for Danny?  This man is a complete loser that treats female like wounded prey.  Katherine knows this, but the mechanizations of the plot require her to fall for him regardless, and Palmer is just plain moronic if she canít see through Dannyís lies right from the get go.  Oh, she is an elementary school teacher, which requires brains, but Palmer has none.  All she has (which is what all the part requires) is a nice big rack that the camera lingers on like a horny adolescent voyeur. 

One last note: I would like to sincerely congratulate Sandler for one accomplishment:  Since 2003 the actor Ė in one form or another Ė has participated in films that have made my yearly Ten Worst Lists a staggering six times!   I donít exaggerate at all in saying that JUST GO WITH IT will proudly continue this wall-of-shame legacy for him at the conclusion of this calendar with lucky number seven.   Do yourself a favor: just donít go to JUST GO WITH IT.  To do so would be to continue to pad the coffers of the "Sandler Brand".

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