I have never been a huge Adam Sandler fan, and based on the few clips and trailers I have seen I was pretty ready to write this one off. Let’s just call it a general lack of enthusiasm on both fronts. But fans can rejoice once more; if he has made a fan of me with Just Go With It, then their loyalty is sure to be rewarded once more.
This time around Sandler plays a plastic surgeon, Danny, who has managed to bed girl after girl by playing the “I’m in a horrible marriage” card, avoiding commitment and hurt by doing so. However, following a night on the beach with yet another woman he decides that he may finally be willing to make something more than just a one night stand. But when she finds his wedding ring in his pocket he must quickly build a web of lies to avoid telling her the truth, starting with turning his assistant Katherine into his soon-to-be ex-wife and her two kids into his own.
As films sometimes do, Just Go With It has a rocky start in which it has trouble finding its footing. In the short amount of time that Sandler’s character’s backstory is given and his work and relationship with Jennifer Aniston’s character is explained things move pretty roughly, especially in concerns to the comedy. Like a comedian, the dialog jumps from random joke to random joke as it tries to connect to and pry laughter from the audience, relying too heavily on botched plastic surgeries, one liners and a drawn out poop joke. Sure, many deserve at least a chuckle, but this setup doesn’t provide a starting point for the movie to form a cohesive piece. Luckily enough once the lies come into play and “the ex” meets the newer, younger model the film finally starts to flow much smoother, forming an entertaining story as lie upon lie is woven in.
Even with the humor found in the jokes themselves, the reason it succeeds is because of the cast the film has managed to pull together. Among its younger stars are Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck. As Katherine’s children Maggie and Michael, these two are ridiculously adorable, stealing scene after scene. Though these two provide a lot of the humor in the first bit of the film, eventually the rest of the characters catch up to speed to provide their own touch on the comedy. Sandler and Aniston have great chemistry in this film, naturally bantering back and forth as friends do, balancing each other out. In all honesty I think Aniston’s presence helped keep Sandler from going over-the-top in his performance, and though that poop joke still lingers on with the addition of an overused facial hair mockery, for the most part the scenes between these two work really well as the film’s emotional center. With Sandler’s humor in check there is plenty of room for an unstable character, and Nick Swardson provides this with ease as Danny’s real cousin and fake boyfriend to Katherine. Rounding out the core group of characters is Brooklyn Decker as Danny’s love interest, and though she does well enough in her role, she feels more like a spectator at the circus, and you don’t go to stare at the crowd when the real entertainment is in the ring. Finally, I will add that there are a few amazing casting choices and cameos throughout the film, however, if you don’t know who they are yet then I don’t want to be the one to spoil it for you. Just know that they are great, some unexpectedly so considering how the characters differ from what we have previously seen of them.
As a film Just Go With It doesn’t necessarily do anything unexpected in the path it takes, but luckily enough the journey getting to the end is hilariously entertaining. There was rarely a time in which the theater was not full of laughter, and for me it was much appreciated that it was spread evenly among the stars and not just coming from Sandler.
Final Grade: B+