Adam Sandler no longer really makes movies so much as he takes expensive, studio-subsidized vacations. The formula is pretty simple: Invite a few famous friends, travel somewhere nice, act like overgrown 14-year-olds while the cameras roll and — viola! — you're ready for easy multiplex consumption. Laughably billed in the ads as "From the producers of Grown Ups", as if that were a strong selling point, Just Go With It is so daft and lazy it makes one long for the halcyon days of The Wedding Singer, when Sandler bothered with a real premises and characters, rather than merely using the story as a dick-joke delivery system.
There is some semblance of a plot at play here, with Sandler as Danny Maccabee, a former schlub turned successful Beverly Hills doctor with a booming practice fixing sagging trophy wives' cosmetic surgery nightmares. After being jilted at the altar 20 years ago, Danny hung on to his wedding ring, and has used it as his go-to trick for seducing younger women, because apparently the line "Hey, I'm a surgeon" has lost its power with bar skanks.
His juvenile behavior is indulged and sometimes abetted by everyone around him, including his long-suffering executive assistant Katherine, played by a bored Jennifer Aniston. So indulgent, in fact, that she agrees to sell his first date lies and play Danny's cordial ex, including hauling along her two precocious grade school-age kids on an elaborate, expensive, staged Hawaiian vacation, all for the benefit of his highly gullible new conquest.
Some still gnash their teeth over Aniston's lost artistic soul, but I've given up and embraced her aggressive mediocrity. She excels at playing a doormat, and if Hollywood keeps insisting she's dowdy until the gratuitous moment when she whips out the tiny bikini and shows off her sleek frame, then so be it. She's effortlessly appealing here, even when others are flailing desperately around her.
Case in point: walking balloon art sculpture Brooklyn Decker, who sure as hell wasn't hired for her acting chops. The whole film revolves around everyone serving her bimbo character a bottomless bucket of lies so lame that Chrissy Snow wouldn't fall for them. This is comedy so backward that it's reactionary, with sitcom setups that got stale on radio.
At least the tropical backdrops are pleasant, because they blew the rest of the budget on P90X so that everyone could show off their tight abs. Money was certainly not lavished on the script, which produces such gems as "We're not fighting, we're delighting"
There is one huge, distracting secret kept out of the trailer, Aniston's obnoxiously perfect friend (and rival), played shockingly by (spoiler) Nicole Kidman of all people, traipsing around in designer dresses and — at one point — a coconut-shell bra. With her strange, translucent beauty she looks like she's seen about as much sunshine as Dracula.
Dire, tired and uninspired, Just Go With It is not for anyone familiar with the term cinema, but just swell for those that ask for nothing from their entertainment or from themselves.
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