Just Go With It

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1/2

Content: -3

Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson. Written by Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling. Based on the play, “Cactus Flower.” Directed by Dennis Dugan

FILM SYNOPSIS: In Just Go With It, a plastic surgeon, romancing a much younger schoolteacher, enlists his loyal assistant to pretend to be his soon-to-be ex-wife, in order to cover up a careless lie. When more lies backfire, the assistant's kids become involved, and everyone heads off for a weekend in Hawaii that will change all their lives.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The original material for Cactus Flower was written by I.A.L. Diamond, a frequent collaborator with Billy Wilder. When one studies his work, the words sardonic, farcical, witty, and trenchant are hard to avoid (Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, One Two Three, The Fortune Cookie). Would he have given in to crude humor had the climate of the country been accepting? Probably. His later film, Kiss Me Stupid, was a lewd farce for its day. But screenwriters of his generation were forced by the Motion Picture Code to adhere to, well, a code of decency. By the time Cactus Flower found life on the New York stage and then on Hollywood’s back lot, the atmosphere was changing. And while that film won a Best Supporting Actress award for then newcomer Goldie Hawn, the Walter Matthau/Ingrid Bergman glossy comedy lacked much substance or humor. But compared to this rendition by Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling, Cactus Flower is comparatively classic.

Despite the fact that both the leads in Just Go With It know their way around a comic gag as well as a gentle moment, here neither seem to muster much in the way of genuine emotion. Scene after scene has a feel of improvisation, with poor Brooklyn Decker apparently the only one who gets her lines from an actual script.

Because those in front of the camera are talented people and the director is a veteran of lowbrow productions (Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry), there are a few laughs, but mostly the humor stems from crudity. Jokes about bad plastic surgery abound. Same goes for babes with hot bods, and anatomical and scatological activity. Hard up for a joke, just let one of the kids say he’s got to take a “Devlin” (a euphemism for going “number two” given by mom to the kids in dishonor of her former schoolmate). And of course, there’s the two precocious kids (the youngsters are actually pretty good; it’s just that the lines given them tend to strain their credibility.)

There’s not just one gay supporting character, but three, each sending the message that homosexuals are stunted in their emotional development. Is this true? If not, then the gay community should be alarmed at how they are being portrayed on screen.

The main character wears a wedding ring in order to pick up women in bars who like to pick up married men in bars. He lies to the gullible girls, telling the Aniston character that she’s the only one he’s never lied to. And he’s supposed to be the good guy?

The humor is lame at best, with the screening audience mostly attuned to the crude sexual innuendos. Actually, innuendo may not be the right word, as it suggests a veiled hinting. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, subtle or veiled in this contender for worst film of the year.

Americans are a forgiving people and it’s only February. By December we will have forgotten about this rom/com, so it probably won’t make many worst lists. But in this humble reporter’s thinking, it’s right down there with 27 Dresses and Life As We Know It. Just pass on Just Go For It.

DVD Alternative: The Awful Truth. This classic screwball comedy has Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as a divorced couple sabotaging each other’s new relationships. Okay, it’s an old film, and it’s in black & white, but it’s a perfect comedy. If you watch it, you’ll see how many films since have attempted to copy its formula. Grant reveals his expert touch with physical and verbal comic timing. And Ms. Dunne keeps right up with him.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Columbia Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Much of the humor stems from crude dialogue or situations.

Obscene Language: Four or five obscenities – the s-word.

Profanity: No profane use of God’s name other than Ms. Aniston’s familiar use of the expression, “Oh my God,” a term she often used on every episode of Friends.

Violence: When stumped for a laugh, have your male lead get hit in the groin – happens twice here, each time just as hysterical as you might imagine (he said with a smirk).

Sex: Just a lot of talk – crude talk.

Nudity: Brief, partial nudity and most of the women seen are dressed provocatively.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Brief drug references

Other: None

Running Time: 116 minutes
Intended Audience: Girl watchers

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