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Don't 'Just Go With It'



Article Published: Feb. 17, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Don't 'Just Go With It'

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler star in 'Just Go With It.'



frank@mountaintimes.com

Adam Sandler asks you to "Just Go With It," but from now on, we're going to need some incentive.

Though Sandler ("Happy Gilmore") and co-star Jennifer Aniston (TV's "Friends") share an honest - and often hilarious - chemistry on-screen, it can't compete with the film's innumerable (and insufferable) shortfalls.

"Just Go With It" happens to be a step above recent romantic comedies, but in a time when cinematic suppositories like "Couples Retreat" glitter at the box office, that's not saying much.

Sandler plays Danny, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who's taken a page from George Costanza's book of dating advice and uses a phony wedding band to pick up women. And it really, really works.
Danny's surprised, however, when he garners the affection of stunning (and considerably younger) schoolteacher Palmer (fashion model Brooklyn Decker), without his trusty ring.

She finds the ring in his pocket, however, and in a desperate attempt to cover up, Danny starts spinning a tangled web of lies.

His best friend and office assistant, Katherine (Aniston), agrees to pose as his soon-to-be-divorced wife, which almost works, until she (a single mom) accidentally brings her two young kids, Maggie (Bailee Madison, "Brothers") and Michael (newcomer Griffin Gluck), into the picture.

Each takes advantage of the situation, using their fabricated family to extort Danny into meeting their frivolous demands. Otherwise, they'll spill the beans. For instance, Katherine wants expensive shoes, Maggie wants acting lessons, and Michael wants to swim with dolphins in Hawaii. Palmer's all for the latter, thinking a vacation would be a perfect opportunity for her to bond with the kids and gain Katherine's blessing.

So, despite logic, reason and common sense, Danny plays along, with Katherine and the kids embellishing the lie whenever possible.

To further complicate matters, Katherine encounters her college "frenemy," the ever-successful and popular Devlin (Nicole Kidman, "Eyes Wide Shut"), and starts a lie of her own - that she and Danny are happily married, which, of course, conflicts with Danny's original lie, and so on and so forth.

But the charade is not without its benefits, as Danny and Katherine are drawn closer together throughout. Through their incessant lies, they somehow learn to be true to each other, and, of course, you know how it ends before even seeing the beginning.

The reason it's hard to "Just Go With It" is the film's ludicrous premise. A white lie is one thing, but there's no way in hell Danny's plan could work, even after the fact.

Director Dennis Dugan ("Big Daddy"), a Sandler regular, tries to hide comedy in the holes of deceit Danny keeps digging, perhaps attempting to rouse some uncomfortable groans that come with inherently awkward situations, but they're so far-fetched that most audiences can't connect.

And like most romantic comedies, there's the oafish or obnoxious best friend. In this case, it's both, by way of the perverted and unbearably annoying Eddie (Nick Swardson, TV's "Reno 911"), who, when not spewing suggestive lines that could have come from a '90s Bud Light commercial, manages to weave himself into the web lie, becoming a supporting character.

"Just Go With It" works best when only Sandler and Aniston are on screen. Both shine and seem perfectly natural when Dugan focuses on their playful banter and sense of friendly familiarity with each other.

A few funny moments come from Katherine's 11-year-old aspiring actress daughter, who flippantly sports a cockney accent, but even the kids - and their rapid-fire dialogue exchanges - come across as contrived.

"Just Go With It" manages some laugh-out-loud moments with a couple "Saturday Night Live" cameos, namely Kevin Nealon and Rachel Dratch as plastic surgery cases gone awry.

But, like those characters, the film is purely superficial - a botched comedy job that should never have left the operating room.

"Just Go With It," rated PG-13 for frequent crude and sexual content, partial nudity, brief drug references and language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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