Just Go With It was probably fun to make. Handsome, funny people. A Hawaiian setting. Unfortunately, it's painful to watch.
Now that he's too old to keep playing the angry man-boy, Adam Sandler, 44, is casting about for projects that will let him adapt his shtick to more adult stories.
Good luck with that.
In Just Go With It, he plays Danny Maccabee, a Hollywood plastic surgeon who, while unmarried, has for years gone out on the town with a fake wedding ring. That, combined with a sob story about an abusive (imaginary) wife, lands him all the no-strings one-night stands he could ever want.
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But when he falls for 20-something Palmer ("it" girl Brooklyn Decker), the good doctor is in a predicament. Palmer wants to meet the wife Danny says he's divorcing.
So he talks his office assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), into impersonating his high-maintenance spouse. And before long, the big fib has expanded, and Katherine's two children are sucked into the act to pose as their offspring.
It all culminates with a mixed-family trip to Hawaii. Along for the ride is Danny's infantile brother (Nick Swardson), who talks in a fake German accent.
It's a high-tension vacation in which Danny and Katherine must keep inventing lies about their non-existent marriage. In the right hands, it might made an OK farce.
But Dennis Dugan — Sandler's go-to director for Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy and, most recently, Grown Ups — does not have the right hands. All concerned might have been going for an impromptu, laid-back feel, but what we get is lazy movie-making: unstructured, clumsy, lacking in forward momentum or even tension in individual scenes.
Nothing about Just Go With It works. The kids are meant to be cute and precocious but come off as merely obnoxious. Ditto for Swardson's irritating sibling. And what the heck is Nicole Kidman doing here playing Katherine's icky college nemesis? (The academy won't retroactively take back an Oscar, will it?)
Poop and crotch jokes (even some breast-surgery-gone-bad sight gags) are scattered randomly throughout. It's as if Sandler realized that none of this was working and in desperation fell back into his old habits.
The film's official running time is 116 minutes. But take it from one who's been there: This movie goes on forever.