JUST GO WITH IT Review

It became somewhat evident with last summers "Grown Ups" that audiences were growing more and more tired with Sandlers usual shtick. The guy puts little effort into his quick and dismissible films and he knows it, but he is reliable. It is almost a guarantee the opening weekend of a Sandler film will hit 30 million. He is box office gold and in all honesty his movies are harmless, so why is such a backlash beginning to grow against him? At least within the realm of cinephiles it seems to be because we know he is capable of so much more. In his "Happy Madison" productions, no matter what his name is, he is essentially playing Adam Sandler. At least he has as of late. But when you have made films that venture out of that comfort zone, and you have shown you are capable of more than repetitive, immature jokes, people are going to expect more. Sandler seems to want to ignore that side of his audience.

Who he doesn't ignore are the moviegoers who only venture out five or so times a year to the movies. Those who don't really care about pop culture, but know that if Sandler is in a flick its gonna be entertaining and funny, so they can count on it. And Sandler knows this. No matter how famous he has become, he knows there is a world out there beyond the one he is surrounded by and that he can bring elements of his fantastical life to the big screen for others to wonder at while still coming off as a regular joe. It is a nice gig, and for anyone else it probably wouldn't work, but no matter how much he might get panned from the critics these days it is hard to deny the guys charm. His jokes are low brow and most of the time we have heard them before, but he makes it work and while this is supposed to be about "Just Go With It" I think we all know what kind of movie this is and that it will do what it wants and no amount of complaining will stop the movie going public from going to see it.

For what it's worth though, the story revolves around plastic surgeon Danny who discovered long ago the power of a wedding ring and the attraction and intrigue it sparks from single women. Fast-forward twenty years and Danny is still at it, but one extremely superficial night with Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) changes his mind. He is convinced this might be the one he is supposed to settle down with. This sounds a bit ridiculous, even for the general Sandler pic and it is executed even worse. The much younger Palmer has no reason other than the guys money to be interested in him. The film tries to play it off as if it is his love for kids and hers that make them fit together well, but Sandler's Danny doesn't even seem to develop a conscious until an hour and a half into the movie. Not to mention Decker is a pretty awful actress, even in this stock character role, she never gives off a hint of naturalness. And though we know how this all ends, I won't spoil it, but instead say that even though Aniston isn't the best at picking projects (she is actually very much in the same boat with Sandler) she manages well here and it is her charm and relatability that make her so likeable.

There isn't much else to say about the film other than I am glad Sandler decided to give Nick Swardson a bigger role finally. The guy is hilarious and deserves more attention. It was nice to see Sandlers gang show up in small spontaneous bits and the kids playing Aniston's children are completely adorable, if not the best part of the film. There is also an unexpected but welcome extended cameo from Nicole Kidman as Aniston's college rival. We see the confrontation coming the minute the dialogue gives us the set-up, but it is actually rewarding to see Kidman in a film like this just having fun and not worried about upholding her "serious actress" persona. Long time collaborator Dennis Dugan again directs with little more than a beginners eye. It is almost as if they use the same shot plan for every Sandler film. It is basic and gives no indications to the story or support to whatever tone the film is supposed to have. And in that is where people like me, who care enough to write five paragraphs about a film like this differ from those going to see a date movie over Valentine's Day weekend. And in all honesty the critics are going to have to get over it. Sandler will continue to make movies like this until even that general movie-going public no longer want to see them. Every now and then he will dip his toes in something like "Punch Drunk Love", "Reign Over Me", and even "Funny People". I wish he would even go back every now and then to making his "Happy Madison" movies where he plays a different character. "The Wedding Singer", "Zohan" anyone? But we will just have to wait and see and most likely, be patient. Until then, "Just Go With It" will have to do. And as bad as it might sound it is in fact harmless. If we stop over-thinking it and just enjoy the trip to Hawaii the film offers, we may not be so disappointed in Sandler.