“Give me some fake hugs right now.”
The Scoop: 2011 PG-13, directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker
Tagline: Sometimes a guy’s best wingman… is a wingwoman.
Summary Capsule: Hey kids! Wanna know a secret? Pretend to be married and lie to girls about it, and you’ll end up with TWO superhot chicks!
Justin’s rating: Unplausably silly. Undeniably fun.
Justin’s review: Back in college — and here we’re talking ’94-’99 — the reigning kings of the funny screen were Mike Myers, Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler. Between the three of them, they pumped out a dozen or so comedy cult classics, ranging from Austin Powers to Ace Ventura to Billy Madison. None of it was highbrow humor, of course, but where these films lacked in sophistication they more than made up with their memorable quotes and ability to make us laugh. No wonder they found themselves in heavy rotation in our dorm rooms.
Of course, time makes monkeys and grown-ups of us all, and nobody could stay in college forever. Mike Myers sold out for numerous Austin Powers and Shrek sequels, Jim Carrey stopped being a goof and started doing (sigh) dramas, and Adam Sandler vacillated between edgy indie productions and lackluster comedy bombs. The last good comedy that I own of his was made all the way back in 2004: 50 First Dates. Since then, the former eternal adolescent really hasn’t hit it that big, and some of his efforts, like Grown Ups or You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, were just plain bad.
So thank God that Sandler finally returned to old form with Just Go With It, a film that I’d easily put up there with Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer as one of my favorites of his goofball productions. This puts me at odds with about 82% of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes who absolutely hated this flick, but I’m going to have to stick to my Mutant cred and say that, if you’re looking for dumb, silly laughs, this hit all the right spots.
It’s not that Just Go With It is original even for Sandler’s repertoire. It reuses locations (Sander returns to Hawaii… guess the actor loved the paid vacation!) and tired romantic comedy staples to be sure, but there’s some of that old zing that made Big Daddy and Billy Madison comedic comfort food. It errs on the side of bizarrely amusing, from Nick Swardson (I love that guy) playing a sheep doctor to a girl pretending to be British as part of her growing acting career, and right in the middle is Sandler playing another lovable creep who you both root for and kind of want to kick in the family fruits, depending on the scene.
Sandler plays Danny, an eternal bachelor who meets Brooklyn Decker and decides that if he doesn’t make a play for her in this movie, there’s no diamond big enough in the world to land her otherwise. So he does, but in typical rom-com fashion, he spins a web of lies that ultimately traps him into pretending that his office assistant (Jennifer Aniston) is his ex-wife. Naturally, they all go to Hawaii together, just because. That’s what you DO with ex’s, right?
It’s all ridiculous and beyond logical, but the setup helps create crazy situations that force the characters to do increasingly out-of-character acts, and that is good. Sandler may be years beyond playing a man-child, but there’s something gleefully snarky about his persona that it still a joy to watch. I may not have really bought the whole “falling in love with his assistant” aspect — they really don’t have as much chemistry as Barrymore and Sandler did — but it’s acceptable enough to run with.
I think it also helps that the film kind of plays it safe: There are no severe gross-out gags, the kids are actually funny instead of annoying, and there’s usually a joke flying at you every minute or two (even if it’s under the film’s breath). As I said, comedic comfort food; not that filling, but fun to gnosh on.
Ultimately Just Go With It gets my wife’s rare “I Actually Laughed At This Film” award, something that most movies have to work very, very hard to win. True, she does tend to enjoy base humor — give her a sight gag and she’ll be happy for a week — but it was great to see how much she giggled and snorted through the whole thing. So I have to conclude that 82% of critics are joyless grumps and move on with my life.
- The *NSYNC loving tennis pro (with the “I love Justin” necklace) Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) meets on the plane at the end of the movie is her real life husband, tennis pro Andy Roddick.
- This is the first collaboration between Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. The two of them have known each other for 20 years, before either of them became famous. They met through some mutual friends and shared meals together. She also used to watch him perform at the Improv, and she attended his wedding in 2003.
[After seeing Devlin walk up]
Friend: Yeah, I would create a fake family for that.
Danny: We have sort of.. a little bit of children.
Danny: Can you act professional until I kill you off in a train accident?
Michael: I thought it was a car accident?
Danny: … you’re going to be dead soon, that’s the good news.
If You Liked This Film, Try These:
- The Wedding Singer
- 50 First Dates
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall