Review: JUST GO WITH IT - A Valentine's Day Compromise

rating: 2.5

Is the title Just Go With It a devious piece of comedy genius? A nod from the filmmakers saying "we know this is cynical, Valentine's marketed mush, but..."? They must be, and they also must be pretty confident it'll work to stick two fingers up to their audience with a title as smug and self-knowing as this.* The worst thing is that, in some ways, they're right. It does everything you'd expect from Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston and so it probably will work. The setup is simple, Danny (Sandler) is a plastic surgeon who gets a lot of girls by pretending he is recently divorced. One day, however, this backfires when sexy young schoolteacher Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) discovers his 'wedding ring' before he can begin his usual schtick. Danny is then forced into a web of lies about a recent separation, a web which will soon rope in his assistant (and sexy single mother) Katherine (Aniston) and her two young children. Can you see where this is going? As the lies spiral out of control, the group end up on a 'getting to know you' holiday to Hawaii, along with Danny's cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson) who is pretending to be a sheep salesman named Dolph Lundgren. Rom-coms are now the most formulaic genre in existence, and in recent years can be boiled down in two types, give or take a couple of exceptions: 1) A 30-something who needs a man to settle with faces an obstacle to get what she needs. (Frequently a baby and/or a career - 'Baby Momma', 'The Back-Up Plan', 'The Switch') 2) A carefree lady realises life is serious and needs a man to help her cope. (Often the realisation is sparked by disease or 'true love' - 'A Little Bit of Heaven', 'Love and Other Drugs', and the forthcoming 'No Strings Attached' or 'Friends With Benefits') The moral of both obviously being that we all have our soul mate out there. Which is very nice and sweet and makes us all feel better about our lonely lives in front of the computer. Getting back to the film, I can now report that it fits into Type 1, with a dash of Type 2 thrown in for the male lead. Katherine's obstacle to a life a monogamous bliss is firstly her career/childcare balance (hence being single), and secondly Danny's womanising (which prevents him from realising she is perfect for him). So if Type 1 rom-coms are your thing, this fits the bill, and if you're more of a Type-2 person, you'll probably like it just fine anyway. So all bases are covered! And for those guys being dragged here by their Valentine's date, you can breathe a sigh of relief because Sandler does all of his usual annoying voices, and gets into all the usual scrapes his characters get themselves into, and there's even a scene of a sheep being given the Heimlich manoeuvre. Plus both Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker get slow-mo bikini shots! Bonanza! If you don't like rom-coms or Adam Sandler, you are unlikely to be impressed by this film. It is high concept nonsense of the worst kind, exploiting Valentine's weekend to earn a bit of cash with predictable love story plot turns and lacklustre Sandler humour. The children and the comedy cousin pipe in with regular chuckle inducing scenes, largely based on ridiculous accents and a bit of slapstick, and these serve to dilute the leading man's antics; but they aren't quite broad or funny enough to sustain big laughs throughout. Kudos to director Dennis Dugan though, he has improved on the low laugh factor of 'Grown Ups' and impressively manages to conjure up some believable chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. That's no mean feat when the leading man/producer refuses to ever change out of his usual baggy t-shirt/shorts combo, or tone down his obnoxious man-child on-screen persona. Aniston, for her part, puts in a quiet performance that is a testament to her talent for the genre. Always likable, and still looking great, she'll impress male and female audiences alike in this. Her comedy sparring with Nicole Kidman, surprisingly cast as Katherine's college nemesis, also provides a few neat comedy interludes from the schmaltzy, tacky romance plot and Adam Sandler comedy showcase. To summarise, this is a template rom-com layered onto your usual high-concept Sandler comedy cynically produced as a Valentine's compromise for cinema-going couples. Viewed as such, it is a rousing success that exhibits Aniston's talents as a romantic lead and tones down Sandler's failings as a comedian/actor. But rated as a film in its own right, it's nothing special. *Reviewer's note: I realise that the title refers to Danny's insistence that Katherine should 'just go with' his lies. I am addressing an amusing subtext I have interpreted. Please do not leave angry comments... at least not about this paragraph. Just Go With It is released in cinema's this Friday.

Michael J Edwards hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.