Film and TV

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Just Go With It

Title: Just Go With It

Starring: Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston

Wasn't She Married To Somebody Famous Once? Yeah, I think I heard that too.

Is Rob Schneider In This? If he was, I couldn't spot him. You do get Dave Matthews, though. I'll leave it to you whether that's an improvement or not.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One Andy Roddick out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Perpetually single plastic surgeon (Sandler) enlists his assistant (Aniston) and her children to cover for the lie(s) he told his potential girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker) about being divorced.

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Danny Macabee is in the habit of picking up women by telling them sob stories about his horrible marriage. So it only stands to reason the one person he meets who makes him consider marriage finds his ring by accident (after they've already slept together, natch) and wants nothing to do with him. Desperate to maintain his hold on that rarest of prizes -- a hot piece of ass with whom he shares a "real connection" -- he convinces his loyal assistant Katherine to pose as his soon-to-be ex-wife on a trip to Hawaii. Will they discover the mutual attraction simmering between them all these years? Will there be 80s music? Will Sandler get hit in the nuts? Have you been in a coma since 1996?

Wasn't Brooklyn Decker The Cover Model On Last Year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue? Was she? You'd never guess, since she's only in a bikini for roughly 50% of the film's running time.

You're (Allegedly) A Critic, So Come Up With Some Clever Plays On The Film's Title: *sigh*

Just Go With The King's Speech Don't Go With It, For The Love Of God Hell No, We Won't Go With It Just Go Fuck Yourself

"Critical" Analysis:It's difficult to pinpoint where the wheels come off the latest Sandler vehicle, but I'm going out on a limb and saying it's the opening scene. In it, a heartbroken Danny, upon finding out the woman he's about to marry slept with another man the night before the wedding, uses the experience to 1) switch his medical focus from cardiology to plastic surgery, which probably resulted in countless deaths, and 2) devotes the next 20 years of his life to fooling women into one-night stands by lamenting his horrible marriage.

Does that really work, ladies? I ask because Adam Sandler apparently thinks your maternal instincts will easily overwhelm your cerebral cortex when confronted with a marginally attracted schlub with a sob story. This would've been good to know back in my 20s.

Apart from this reprehensible pattern, Danny appears to be a fairly nice guy. He refuses to perform unnecessary procedures (mostly) and treats his assistant Katherine and her two kids well. He's also finally having misgivings about his behavior with the opposite sex, and is seriously considering a change when he meets Palmer, an extremely attractive elementary teacher 20 years his junior. Naturally, she finds his prop wedding ring and refuses to see him again. It's at this point that Danny finally releases spinning a web of lies is no way to start a relationship, and resolves to be a better person from now on.

Ha ha, no. Where's the potential for overused jokes in that? Sure enough, in a decision the writers for Three's Company would reject for being too moronic, Danny gets Katherine to act like his ex-wife, then the kids become a factor. In a series of mishaps and coincidences I can't possibly explain without having an aneurysm, the five of them (plus Danny's comic relief cousin, played by Nick Swardson) go to Hawaii, where we'll limp through rudimentary plot advancement and ogle Decker and Aniston in their bathing suits until the inevitable conclusion.

Sandler's formula to this point, and it's been an extremely profitable one, has basically been to make romantic comedies for dudes. He's savvy enough to realize he can attract the lucrative adult female market with a feel-good story about true love conquering all, plus he knows he can get guys to see it -- even the dateless ones -- if he throws in a few nut shots and Jessica Biel in a catsuit.

The problem is, the "romance" in these movies is the same kind of formulaic crap The Simpsons were making fun of 10 years ago ("I thought she'd end up with that rich snob!"). I mean, it's nice he chose someone age appropriate to represent his true love, but the underlying message for the guys in the audience is that you shouldn't settle for the correct woman until you've banged as many hot ones as you can. And even then, make sure she can rock a bikini like Jennifer Aniston.

But as he's gotten more successful, Sandler's comedic sensibilities have remained stagnant. His earlier films possessed an anarchic sensibility that didn't always work, but was at least interesting and often funny. The trouble is, relying on dated jokes about plastic surgery and how overweight people are lazy and vindictive or using "He's gay" as a punch line isn't funny anymore; it's Neolithic. Yeah, yeah...comedy's subjective and everything, but if you're actually laughing the second time a guy gets hit in the groin in a movie, perhaps you should stick with pro wrestling.

Just Go with It is in theaters for Valentine's Day weekend. You'd probably be showing your significant other more respect if you asked him/her if you could pee on them.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar