Just Go With It * * 1/2

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Dennis Dugan

Writers: Timothy Dowling & Allan Loeb, based on the screenplay for Cactus Flower by I.A.L Diamond

Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck

Running Length: 114 minutes

Synopsis: Danny (Adam Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon who has had his heart broken before, and thus never commits to any relationship by pretending to be a married man. However, when he begins to seriously romance a much younger schoolteacher, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), the lie backfires on him. In order to cover up the lie, Danny seeks the help of his loyal assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife. The lies begets more lies, and soon even Katherine’s two children become involved. It all culminates in a weekend vacation in Hawaii which will end up changing everyone’s lives.

 Review: Just Go With It has an extremely apt title – in order to enjoy this movie, the audience has to just go with the plot and completely suspend their disbelief at the many contrivances and overall weakness of the narrative structure. Once this is done, however, the movie is actually somewhat entertaining, although entirely predictable despite the many attempted (not entirely successfully) twist and turns. Although there are a few good performances to be had in the movie, the true stars of the show are the lead actors’ bodies – it’s simply amazing how fit and toned everyone looks, and I’m not just referring to Swimsuit Illustrated model Brooklyn Decker, who’s here obviously more for her body than thespian talent.

This is an Adam Sandler movie through and through, and is director Dennis Dugan’s sixth collaboration with Sandler, so it’s not surprising that the film treads on familiar ground. Consisting largely of lowbrow but accessible humour that’s occasionally shocking, only the harshest and jaded critics would not find something to laugh about in the movie, even if it feels rather old hat. However, if you’re not a fan of Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy, this is not going to be the movie that changes your mind.

Much as this falls into the romantic comedy genre, the romance portion is actually quite minimal barring a small number of scenes. Whilst both Sandler and Aniston are passable in their lead roles for both aspects, it’s the supporting cast that keeps the cogs of the movie turning. The standout performance would have to be that of Nick Swardson, who plays Danny’s demented cousin and then eventually poses as a German-accented sheep seller called Dolph Lungdren (don’t ask). Swardson effortlessly steals every scene that he appears in and turns out to be the highlight of the movie. Also impressive are the two children, especially Bailee Madison, who throws in a completely OTT Cockney accent into the mix, which manages to amuse far better than I thought it would.

And then there’s the extended cameo from one of the most recognizable faces in the industry (since all the early promotional material does not reference her presence in the film, I shall keep her identity a secret here) – while she seems rather ill at ease with the material, she does showcase an amazing body, particularly in a Hawaiian dance-off against Jennifer Aniston. She’s not alone in this PG-13 “body porn”, however – both Aniston and Sandler (more the former than the latter for obvious reasons) get to show off what must have been months of hard work in a number of sequences.

Just Go With It does suffer from an overlong running time, clocking in at just under 2 hours when 90 minutes should have been more than sufficient. It simply takes too long to reach its clichéd denouement, and would have really benefitted from tighter editing. It may not be the obvious choice when it comes to a date movie on or around Valentine’s Day, but given the heavier Oscar fare that’s being released during this period, a surer choice for mindless entertainment.

Rating: * * 1/2 (out of four stars)


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