Wednesday, February 23, 2011

JUST GO WITH IT (2011)

Written by Allen Loeb & Timothy Dowling


Directed by Dennis Dugan


Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA. February 15, 2011  2:30PM


Since 1995, when he had his first starring role in the minor hit comedy, "Billy Madison", Adam Sandler has been a true movie star. Over the years, most of his films have made big money and people still have not seemed to have grown tired of seeing Mr. Sandler play slight variations of his stock man-child character.

I have gone to several of his films from time to time and they can be quite funny or they can be unbearably bad, largely depending on the plot, the other actors starring with him and if there is a strong director involved. One of my all-time favorite films of his (and in general) is the 2002 "Punch-Drunk Love" which was not one of his traditional comedies. It was a dramatic, romantic-comedy by the great,Paul Thomas Anderson, director of "Boogie Nights" (1997), "Magnolia"(1999) and "There Will Be Blood" (2007), who got Mr. Sandler to deliver an actual acting performance and it was impressive.

Mr. Sandler's latest is "Just Go With It" which falls in to the "unbearably bad" category. It is a very loose remake of the 1969 film, "Cactus Flower" which starred Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. The screenplay was written by I. A. L. Diamond who wrote such comedy classics as "Some Like It Hot" and "The Apartment", which he won an Oscar for. This dumbed-down version is so far removed from the source material that they shouldn't even bother mentioning it. "Just Go With It" will definitely not win any Oscars but I do see some Razzies in it's future.

Los Angeles plastic surgeon, Danny Maccabee (Sandler) wears a wedding ring although he's not actually married. He uses it to attract single women. The reason for this happened years ago, when Danny discovers that his bride-to-be was only going to marry him because the man she actually loved was not the "marrying kind". 

Devastated, Danny goes to a bar to drown his sorrows when a hot chick sees his ring and asks him what was wrong. He neglects to tell her he's not married but says that he's in an unhappy marriage. That was enough for this young lady to bed him down to cheer him up and a sleazy plan is born.

At a party, Danny meets an impossibly beautiful young woman named Palmer (Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Brooklyn Decker), who is a school teacher. The two hit it off immediately and spend the night together on the beach. The next morning, Palmer discovers Danny with a wedding ring. A child of divorce, Palmer is disgusted and never wants to see him again.

Desperate to win her back, Danny tells Palmer that he is in the process of divorcing his miserable wife. Palmer buys his story but tells him that she wants to meet her first before they can continue dating.

Danny's office manager, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), a divorced mother with two children, who is well aware of Danny's childish dating strategy. Danny begs Katherine to pose as his wife since Palmer could be the woman he could settle down with. Katherine foolishly agrees and the doctor takes her shopping in Beverly Hills so she will look more of the part of a plastic surgeon's wife.

Over drinks, Katherine, who has taken the name "Devlin", after her rival in college, plays the part of the obnoxious wife to perfection but while preparing to leave, she gets a call from her children. Palmer assumes that they are their kids and since Danny feels no need to begin telling her the truth now, he doesn't correct her. Of course, Palmer insists on meeting them, so Danny has to bribe Katherine's kids to act like he is their father. During the meeting, Michael, Katherine' son uses this opportunity to blackmail Danny into taking the whole family to Hawaii so he can swim with the dolphins.

With Danny's cousin, Eddie (Nick Swardson) tagging along as he poses as "Dolph Lundgren", "Devlin's" rich German lover, everyone heads to the Big Island where plenty more madness and lies occur and to top things off, while the gang is at a luau, the real Devlin (Nicole Kidman) just happens to be there with her rich husband (singer, Dave Matthews). Now, Katherine uses Danny to pretend to be her husband to show off in front of Devlin. After competing with Devlin in a hula contest (please, don't ask),  Katherine begins looking at Danny in a different light while Danny begins considering whether he is actually with the right woman.

"Just Go With It" has a much too busy plot with all of the lying that goes on in this flimsy screwball comedy becomes confusing, exhausting and not at all funny. All of this would probably be fine it this was simply a thirty minute sitcom but this film clocks in a almost two hours and it quickly becomes unbearably tedious.

This is the sixth Sandler comedy that Mr.Dugan has directed, the last being last summer's inexplicable hit, "Grown-Ups" and he is a perfect example of how it pays to have friends in high places. His style of "directing" is to never crack open the script, simply let his actors run wild, improvising their scenes while occasionally reminding Mr.Sandler that he is still a "comic genius".

Mr. Sandler and Ms Aniston only do the minimum amount expected to earn the big bucks they are paid. As for all of the other actors, they seem to each be doing their own thing, not particularly concerned with what any one else is doing or saying or even what the movie is really about. "Just Go With it" is a romantic-comedy that made no effort to produce a single moment of real romance or comedy.