Review: Sandler and Aniston bring back the date movie

Tom Andrew

Adam Sandler has taken his career from Saturday Night Live to crass sophomoric films to Oscar contending dramas and with “Just Go With It” he has seemingly morphed all of them together.

“Just Go With It” is not short on laughs, sophomoric or unexpected, and yet it is just as adept at tugging on your heartstrings.

Sandler plays Danny, a plastic surgeon, who uses a fake wedding band to get women to sleep with him. He does this for most of his adult life until he meets Palmer, played by Brooklyn Decker, and thinks he’s met “the One”. The trouble is she sees his wedding ring after they have slept together and leaves him with the task of convincing her that he is going through a divorce.

Desperate to keep the woman of his dreams he convinces his assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) and her two eccentric kids (Baliee Madison and Griffin Gluck) to be his family, so Palmer can meet the woman he is supposedly divorcing.

Katherine only agrees to Danny’s plan after he offers her a shopping spree and complete makeover. Her children prove to be even shrewder demanding acting lessons, money and a trip to Hawaii to swim with dolphins.

Danny begrudgingly accepts these demands and off they all go
to Hawaii.

The rest of the film could have been a gimmick, but instead it’s here that the film has most of its big laughs and heartfelt moments.

Sandler’s Danny has just the right amount of goofiness and playfulness to make us believe a beautiful girl like Decker could be interested in him. Sandler, a now seasoned actor, gives us a taste of what it’s like to be a controlled actor/comedian. His performance is both funny and heartfelt.

Aniston all but steals the film away from everyone else. She shows that she is more than adept at taking what could have been a thankless assistant role by making it into the reason the film works. The extra look here, the subtle sigh there, and then she shows us that she is just as comfortable getting laughs just by being goofy and real. It’s a performance like this that makes you wonder why she hasn’t chosen the right vehicle to earn her an Oscar.

Both Sandler and Aniston are supported by a very funny, and in control, cast.

Madison and Gluck are hysterical as Aniston’s children and toss out one-liners just as confidently as their adult costars. Nick Swardson plays Sandlers brother with reckless abandonment and special guest stars like Kevin Nealon, Rachael Dratch, Dave Matthews and Nicole Kidman, round out the hilarity without taking away from what the film tries to accomplish and does.

Dennis Dugan is a veteran actor and director who has thankfully mellowed in his directing style by not allowing a crass tone to take over completely, and has crafted a well-balanced film.

The story, written by Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling and I.A.L. Diamond, based on the play by Abe Burrows, has some holes and if you really think about it too long it is a bit implausible, but it isn’t going be an Oscar contender, so.just go with it.

3.5/5