Just Go With It
dir Dennis Dugan
scr Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling
prd Jack Giarraputo, Heather Parry, Adam Sandler
with Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews, Lilian Tapia, Keegan Michael Key, Kevin Nealon, Heidi Montag
release US/UK 11.Feb.11
11/US Columbia 1h56
Just Go With It
Three's a crowd: Aniston, Sandler and Decker

kidman swardson nealon
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Just Go With It This remake of the 1969 comedy Cactus Flower somehow manages to run for nearly two hours without inspiring even a giggle. And the filmmakers really try. But it's just about watchable due to some engaging performances.

Danny (Sandler) is a plastic surgeon who has found that pretending to be in a bad marriage is a sure-fire way to seduce women. Then he meets bombshell nice-girl Palmer (Decker) and his plan backfires. He thinks there may be a future with her, but she wants to meet his wife to make sure it's over. So Danny gets his assistant Katherine (Aniston) to pose as his ex, inadvertently roping her eerily smart children (Madison and Gluck) into the improvised charade along with Danny's loser cousin Eddie (Swardson).

As the farce becomes increasingly tangled, we begin to wonder when it will start to get funny. But the tone is both shallow and cynical, never establishing a single plot point before leaping into the next set piece. Since we never believe any of it for a second, there's nothing for us to connect with. For example, Danny and Palmer's romance develops suddenly and inexplicably, so everyone heads on holiday together for more shenanigans in Hawaii. Huh?

Fortunately, Aniston manages to create a likeable, believable character with a refreshingly naturalistic performance. She even develops strong chemistry with Sandler, whose goofy-everyman shtick at least isn't annoying this time. Then Kidman shows up in a remarkably broad turn as Katherine's teen nemesis, a thankless role that's actually a little scary because Kidman nails it so well. Her hula showdown with Aniston is easily the film's best scene.

Otherwise, Decker isn't much more than a pretty face and body, while the kids are clearly having a ball overacting shamelessly. This leaves Swardson with the gross-out role, which he dives into even though it's deeply unfunny. But then nothing works: the constant plastic surgery jokes fall flat, the romance is painfully predictable, and the script is pathologically lazy, skipping over any scenes that might have made things more interesting. "We're here to fake having fun," announces Danny on arrival in Hawaii. But they don't even fake it very well.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 8.Feb.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall