Friday, February 11, 2011

FILM REVIEW: Just Go With It

In Adam Sandler's latest romantic comedy, he plays a jilted groom who discovers that women are more likely to have a one-night stand if they think you're married. One night, without his old wedding ring on, he meets a girl (Brooklyn Decker) he thinks might be the one. Unfortunately, when she discovers his old ring in his pocket, she refuses to have an affair with him, so he ropes his best friend and assistant (Jennifer Aniston) into pretending to be his soon-to-be-ex-wife.
As per usual, Sandler signs up for a preposterous storyline with even more preposterously beautiful women who, only in a fictional universe, fall in love with him. Needless to say, my expectations weren't very high. The last time I enjoyed a Sandler flick was 2004's Spanglish & 50 First Dates. They had even doses of comedy and drama that made you laugh as hard as you cried. But from this film, I not only didn't expect tears, but I also didn't expect laughter, especially since Decker, who's a newbie, and Aniston, who doesn't exactly have a rep for being effectively comedic, were set to star. I, however, was pleasantly surprised by Aniston & Sandler's chemistry, both comedic and romantic. They had a great back-and-forth and the way he ragged on her and she gave back just as hard made them seem like great sparring buddies. It wasn't really a love-hate relationship, so much as playful taunting. They were true friends who didn't realize that they loved each other so much until the possibility of never being together presented itself.
As for the supporting cast, Decker didn't do too badly for her first feature role, better than most model-turned-actresses. Comedian Nick Swardson has become Sandler's new Rob Schneider, except he's not consistently funny. He's more of just a bumbling pervy weirdo. The kids, Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck, were amazing little schemers, who blackmailed their way into pricey acting classes and Hawaiian vacations. The biggest scene-stealers, however, were Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews, who played a perfect couple who rubbed their perfectness into Aniston & Sandler's face. Kidman was Aniston's rival and she was eager to show her that she wasn't a failure. Their competition to determine who had the most successful husband, fulfilling life, and impressive hula skills (don't ask) led to some pretty hilarious scenes. My favorite running joke, "Took a Devlin," was actually a reference to Kidman's character. Aniston didn't want her kids saying the vulgar phrase for defecating, so she told them to say "Taking a Devlin." And even though Devlin had popped back up into Aniston's life, they didn't stop using that phrase, which made it even funnier.

Ultimately, I find the trailer is a little misleading. It makes it seem like Sandler's character is just a player trying to manipulate an unfortunate situation to his advantage. But he's just a wayward romantic who wandered down the wrong path after getting his heart broken. If they'd shown the initial rejection in the trailer, moviegoers probably would've been more keen on seeing this scorned man find his way back. And if they played up the bond he had with Aniston that would've helped too.

Final Verdict: I'd recommend renting it. Sandler's finally redeemed himself for the last 7 years of terrorist-fighting hairdressers, semi-homophobic firefighters, and self-absorbed, cancer-stricken stand-up comics. Of course, his next film involves him playing the male and female lead so...

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