Adam Sandler has made a great career out of playing buffoons. When he burst onto the scene and achieved his greatest successes, Sandler was playing a manic buffoon in movies like “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “The Waterboy.”
Now sure, none of these movies should be considered landmark works of western cinema, but they worked because Adam Sandler movies are funniest when the film’s energy comes from Sandler himself.
But then something happened and Sandler decided he wanted to play the cool buffoon. His characters became less outrageous as he took on broader everyman roles and instead of the crazy dude in the normal situation, he became the normal dude in the crazy situation. Considerably less hilarity ensued.
The success of an Adam Sandler movie now depends on the zaniness of the script and the energy of the movie is dependant on Sandler’s co-stars.
All of this has culminated in the low-water mark of the Sandler era with “Just Go With It,” a movie that is never offensively bad, just overwhelmingly bad.
This time around Sandler plays Danny, a commitment-phobic plastic surgeon who wears a wedding ring and concocts tales of tragic marriages to pick up women in bars. (You’d think the line “Hey, I’m a rich plastic surgeon” would work well enough, but who am I to judge.)
All these changes when Danny meets Palmer (Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker) without his trusty ring. Their hookup goes off without a hitch until the next morning when Palmer discovers the ring in Danny’s pocket.
Danny then comes up with a fake impending divorce that won’t be believed until he produces an ex-wife.
Enter Jennifer Aniston as Danny’s assistant, Katherine. First of all, I would like to get out of the way the fact I have absolutely nothing against Aniston. I think she is a fine actress and she’s actually as good as she’s ever been in “Just Go With It.”
That said, she has been given waaaaaaay too many at-bats for an actress who has never produced a single box-office hit (“Marley & Me” doesn’t count, people went to see that one for the dog), and continues to be good in relentlessly bad movies. I am very puzzled as to why her career is as stable as it appears.
Anyway, Katherine agrees to pretend to be Danny’s ex-wife and then a series of ludicrously escalating lies result in Katherine’s two kids (played by Baliee Madison and Griffin Gluck) and Danny’s cousin, Eddie (Nick Swardson, providing the goofy antics without which no Sandler movie would be complete), getting roped into the proceedings.
Of course, the reasons Danny is so doggedly committed to winning over Palmer in a manner that winds up being insanely expensive and ultimately unsustainable are, um, well, she’s atomically, smokin’ hot. That’s all I’ve got right now.
Everything results in the whole gang going to Hawaii, which kind of feels like the whole reason this movie was made. I’d be willing to bet the script was cobbled together in such a way as to cover an excuse for the cast and crew to film in a tropical location.
Not that I blame them. Hey, if I could get my editors to buy that movie reviews written in Tahiti improved readership, don’t think for a second I wouldn’t do it. I think what is most telling about “Just Go With It” is that for the vast majority of the movie, Sandler just looks bored. The guy used to throw himself at comedic roles so hard they had to scrape the gibberish and poop jokes off the walls afterward. Now as Sandler struggles to stay awake through an entire scene, how can the audience possibly be expected to retain consciousness? Oh right, the swimsuit model. Well, at least that explains something.
“Just Go With It” is rated PG-13 for frequent crude and sexual content, partial nudity, brief drug references, and language.