‘Just Go with It’ movie review: just avoid this Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler rom-com

Just Go with It was originally a French play, adapted into English by Abe Burrows and then into a screenplay for a 1969 film by I.A.L. Diamond. The title through all these incarnations was Cactus Flower (Fleur de cactus in French), which was a metaphor for one of the lead characters: a lovely blossom on a prickly plant. I only mention this because even if you are unaware of the significance, Cactus Flower is an interesting title, while Just Go with It is one of the blandest imaginable, and a sign of the creativity at work here.

Now, we don’t expect too much from Adam Sandler comedies (especially ones directed by Dennis Dugan, whose last three were Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). And we don’t expect much from Jennifer Aniston rom-coms. But even the lowest of expectations won’t prepare you for this.

Sandler plays Danny, a plastic surgeon who finds that wearing a wedding band greatly increases his luck with the ladies. His assistant is Katherine (Aniston), a spinsterish mother of two. 

They treat patients with one permanently-raised eyebrow or one giant breast, and Danny attends a party featuring a man with an expressionless plastic face (Kevin Nealon), a woman who looks like Mick Jagger, and a man with a giant ass. If you don’t find these freaks of plastic surgery funny, I warn you: they are the high point of Just Go with It‘s humor.

At the party, Danny meets the girl of his dreams, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker, who, no coincidence, walks out of the ocean here like Bo Derek did in 10). Only problem: she finds the fake wedding ring he uses to score chicks among his belongings and storms off. All right, he’s got time to think: tell her the truth and look like a creep? Tell a small fib (after all, he isn’t married) – it was just a prop, it’s a friend’s ring, I found it on the beach, that’s not my bag?

How about a large fib? He is married (with kids!) – but he’s getting divorced. He hires Katherine to play his soon-to-be ex, and her two kids to be his kids. And his cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson) is Katharine’s lover. And they’re all going on a Hawaiian vacation. What is his plan, exactly? To marry Palmer, and live the rest of his life pretending he has those two kids? And who would go along with it? Who would fall for it? These people are all idiots.

The presence of Aniston and the two kids might indicate that this is a lighter, sweeter Sandler rom-com, a la The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates. Nope. This one has more juvenile, un-P.C. humor than most Sandler films, which might be welcome if any of it were funny. Nor does the presence of all that indicate this is a zany Zohan-like comedy; no, plotwise, this is formula rom-com junk all the way.

There are some good moments here. The scenery (including Decker) is great. The kids (Bailee Madison and Eric West) are cute. Incredibly, Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews show up in a cameo as Katharine’s old school rival and her new hubby. 

They contribute to Just Go with It‘s best sequence, a hula-off between Aniston and Kidman that goes pretty well (after the prerequisite fat jokes) until Matthews picks up a coconut with his ass.

What is Kidman doing here? I don’t even know what Aniston is doing here. At least they got a trip to Hawaii out of it. Allow me to make a sweeping statement: excluding Going Overboard, this is Adam Sandler’s worst movie.

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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