Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie Review: Just Go With It

Just Go With It

Directed by Dennis Dugan
Running Time: 117 minutes
Originally Released: February 11, 2011

* ½ (out of four)

The first rule of improvisation, pre-teen aspiring actress Maggie informs us, is never to shoot down an idea. Always accept another’s suggestion. Run with it. Make the most out of it. That’s the key to success. As Maggie spews this wisdom onscreen, it’s hard not to interpret her remarks as a veiled and subtle plea from the filmmakers to the audience itself, asking viewers to make the most out of whatever they are given, no matter how lousy, uninspired, or preposterous it may be. Indeed, Just Go With It is clearly hoping audiences will follow the advice found in the film’s title. Surely enough, only the most gracious and forgiving viewers will enjoy the few laughs that Just Go With It can provide.

Just Go With It is a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and new to the silver screen, Brooklyn Decker and her breasts. Sandler plays Danny Maccabee, a 40-something plastic surgeon who lures college-aged girls to his bed by playing the sensitive victim in a fabricated marriage gone sour. Aniston plays Katherine, Danny’s nurse, who knows her employer’s schemes and derides him for them, but only in a friendly and none-too-serious way. Danny’s ruse has proven quit successful over the years, but problems arise after the surgeon meets and fairly immediately sleeps with Palmer (played by Decker and her breasts), the 23-year-old blonde bombshell with whom he feels a genuine connection. Coincidentally, Danny didn’t pretend to be married with Palmer, and yet she happens upon his prop wedding ring—the lone relic of a broken-off engagement years earlier—and won’t accept that he’s single. Not wanting to miss out on the chance to develop things with Palmer, Danny enlists Katherine to pretend to be his wife and prove to Palmer that she and he are on the brink of divorce. Katherine’s two children, Maggie (Bailee Madison) and Michael (Griffin Gluck), unwittingly enter the picture, as does Danny’s goofy friend Eddie (Nick Swardson), who acts as Katherine’s extramarital love interest. The rest, as they say, is clichéd history.

Just Go With It treads so much familiar territory that it’s hard to say anything novel about it, even in criticism. Thankfully, a rather fitting analogy can be found in the movie’s soundtrack, which is comprised almost entirely of “mash-ups.” For those who don’t know, a “mash-up” is where various parts of several extant songs are blended together, resulting in a new mix of old material, something akin to a musical collage. Creatively speaking, Just Go With It is about the same—there is nothing new here, but the jokes and plot lines have been shuffled up enough to become, technically, a new film. If that weren’t intellectually insulting enough, the film should also offend those viewers who have grown tired (as I have) of stereotypical gender roles. Is it really funny to see men drooling over a woman in a bikini when it’s been done infinitely many times over the last 40 years of filmmaking? Are we really supposed to be charmed by Danny, who’s not even painted as much of a villain but should probably have countless STDs at this point? These things offend me much more than, say, the explicit sex of Blue Valentine. But that’s me. I feel especially disappointed with Aniston, whom I believe should be ashamed of her participation here—not because she’s starring in a frivolous rom-com, but because she’s starred in something that is degrading of her as an artist. Sandler can do better, but at least we’re familiar with his penchant for vulgarity and stupidity. Decker and her breasts are probably quite at home here, but so much for having a woman’s supposed attractiveness amount to anything more than her cup size and the amount of skin she is willing to keep bared at all times.


  1. I wondered about this one. I thought Sadler was maturing into better things, like Spanglish, maybe. Aniston seems to be slipping further and further down the drain and perhaps she is afraid she won't get any more screen offers. It kinda' looks that way. Well, anyway, this is just my opinion, but it's true. ^.^)

  2. I was curious about this one. I like Adam Sandler and actually think Jennifer Aniston can be a good actress. If I see it and like it, I won't tell you :)