Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston Hit Career Lows in ‘Just Go With It’

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Average: 1 (1 vote) Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – If you have a masochistic desire to see unlikable morons on a vacation you probably can’t afford, check out one of the worst movies in a long time, Adam Sandler’s horrendous “Just Go With It.” This is the kind of unmitigated disaster that had a group of critics trying to determine if it was Sandler’s worst film EVER. So, imagine your least favorite Sandler joint (may I suggest “Little Nicky” or “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”) and know that this one is arguably even more unbearable.

Before getting too deep into the numerous failure of “Just Go With It,” the new bar when one discusses the modern failure of the romantic comedy (congratulations “When in Rome” fans), there’s really only one thing that matters — this movie is not funny. Not at all. There are maybe four or five comedic concepts that are repeatedly regularly and they are “boobies are great,” “accents are funny,” “poop jokes rule,” “a talking soul patch” (no, I’m not kidding), and “different is bad.” Allan Loeb, the new king of bad romantic comedies after “The Dilemma” and “The Switch,” apparently co-wrote the film although it might as well have been written by a computer program merely cycling through the five jokes until the audience is numb. Then maybe they’ll laugh.

Just Go With It
Just Go With It
Photo credit: Sony Pictures

This is easily one of the worst comedy scripts that has made it to the big screen in a very long time. Whatever you may think about the film’s stars or how critics “just don’t get” Adam Sandler comedies, you must trust me that there’s nothing funny here. In a half-full theater, more jokes produced not a single laugh than I can ever remember in the hundreds of comedies I’ve seen. It was actually to the point where people were starting to get uncomfortable. When it was clear that a character played by the terminally unfunny Nick Swardson was about to perform CPR on a sheep, I actually had to leave for a minute.

Adam Sandler plays Danny, one of the most obnoxious plastic surgeons in Los Angeles. a character who could have been an anti-hero who learns a lesson about love but instead is just another one of Sandler’s lazy man-children. The one personality trait this time (Sandler characters usually only have one) is that Danny was ridiculed at the altar when he was a young man and so he now makes up fake stories about his fictional wife to get laid. We’re supposed to believe that Danny is really a nice guy and clearly a wealthy one but he can’t meet hot girls in Hollywood unless he makes up stories about an abusive wife.

Danny takes off his fake wedding ring and meets the lovely Palmer (Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, actually not bad here but given nothing to do), a girl who falls for him for who he is, which in Sandler’s ego-driven universe means sleeping with him on a beach on the night they meet. I guess we’re supposed to buy that Danny falls for Palmer (although that’s never distinctly stated because the structure of the movie dictates that the two of them can’t end up together) because he fabricates an amazing story after she finds his fake ring about a recent divorce.

Just Go With It
Just Go With It
Photo credit: Sony Pictures

Instead of just saying he’s a widow, going through a contentious divorce with an out-of-the-country wife, or that he’s, you know, lived a life of deceit, Danny makes up a story that includes his office assistant, the lovely Katherine (Jennifer Aniston). Now, the poor girl has to pretend to be Danny’s ex-wife and her two kids have to pretend to be his offspring. With plot devices I don’t even want to explain, the whole gang ends up on an extended vacation in Hawaii, including Danny’s obnoxious cousin pretending to be a sheep shipper named Dolph Lundgren (Swardson, of course). There, they run into Katherine’s former frenemy, Devlin (Nicole Kidman, clearly owing someone a big favor) and her husband (Dave Matthews…yes, THAT Dave Matthews).

Where does “Just Go With It” go wrong? Where have the worst romantic comedies you’ve ever seen gone wrong? The characters are uniformly unlikable and total idiots. Palmer is one of the worst plot devices ever because anyone who’s ever seen a romantic comedy knows that Danny and Katherine MUST end up together or the movie doesn’t work. They don’t make movies in Hollywood about guys making up fake lives to bed models and not have the guy learn a lesson. So, the audience is just waiting and waiting and waiting for the inevitable. And at nearly two hours, “Just Go With It” is so bloated, especially when one considers it has about twenty minutes of actual plot. The rest is nothing but repetitive attempts at physical comedy that just don’t work.

How a movie as bad as “Just Go With It” gets made still baffles me. Did the supremely untalented director Dennis Dugan watch the dailies and laugh? Has he become so insulated into the Sandler-verse that he thinks anything his meal ticket does is funny? It’s not. They need to actually write jokes, characters, and romance to make a romantic comedy. This certainly doesn’t qualify.

“Just Go With It” stars Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Nicole Kidman, and Dave Matthews. It was written by Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling and directed by Dennis Dugan. It opened on February 11th, 2011 and is rated PG-13. content director Brian Tallerico

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