Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews, Kevin Nealon, Rachel Dratch, Allen Covert, Dan Patrick, Minka Kelly, Jackie Sandler, Rakefet Abergel
Written by: Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling, based on a French play by Pierre Barillet, Jean-Pierre Grédy, a stage play by Abe Burrows, and a screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frequent crude and sexual content, partial nudity, brief drug references and language
Running Time: 116
Date: 02/08/2011

Just Go with It (2011)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Lie, Lie Love

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Just a couple of weeks ago I favorably reviewed No Strings Attached, mainly because it was a romantic comedy that didn't use the "lie" plot. Now here comes Just Go with It, a romantic comedy that uses the "lie" plot in spades; it just keeps inventing more and more outrageous lies, so much so that the lies themselves are often the topic of discussion.

Adam Sandler stars with Jennifer Aniston at his side, and they have some terrific comedy chemistry together. They seem to really like one another, and their teasing and joking with one another seems natural, and perhaps even improvised. These moments got me giggling, but the much larger, longer chunks of the movie that dealt with the stupid plot just sat there, dead.

Danny (Sandler) is a successful Los Angeles plastic surgeon. Years ago, jilted on his wedding day, he discovered the power of wearing a wedding ring; he could easily pick up women and never get his heart broken again. This works great until he meets the sexy Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) at a party. They make a real connection, until she finds the ring. Instead of explaining, Danny makes up a lie that he's just about to get divorced. Palmer doesn't believe him and insists on meeting the soon-to-be-ex-wife, so Danny asks his assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to play that part.

The lie keeps spreading, and soon Katherine's kids, Maggie (Bailee Madison) and Michael (Griffin Gluck), are involved, with fake names and even a fake cockney accent (don't ask). Then, the whole thing spirals into a trip to Hawaii, with Danny's annoying cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson), posing as Katherine's new boyfriend. Finally, Katherine meets her old sorority nemesis, Devlin (Nicole Kidman), there, and more lies spring up. (Pop singer Dave Matthews also stars as Devlin's beau.)

Based on a French play, and also the American movie Cactus Flower (1969), this stuff is so excessive and ridiculous that it might almost work, save for the fact that every single supporting character here falls flat. Child actress Madison is as supremely irritating as it's possible for a child actress to get, and Swardson rarely even seems like a human being, much less a funny person. Not even Kidman can work her magic here, and it's sadly ironic that this former beauty -- now plasticked into shape -- is in a movie about a plastic surgeon. Oddly, only Kevin Nealon gets any laughs in his one scene as a plastic surgery disaster, unable to move his lips or laugh (he lets out a horrendous yowl instead of laughter).

The only other interesting thing here is a soundtrack consisting of "mash-ups," many of them involving Sting and The Police.

Poor Decker probably gets it the worst. She's undeniably hot and will no doubt have some kind of career ahead of her, but in her first feature film role, she's a bust. Palmer is supposed to be sweet and wonderful, but she's a total idiot if she believes all the moronic lies that are put forth to her, many of them in the spur of the moment. What's worse is that she's given a line of dialogue early in the film about how she can tell when Danny is lying. Apparently not. And in the end, when Danny declares his love for Katherine, the movie simply makes Palmer conveniently disappear. It's hard to believe that Goldie Hawn won an Oscar for this same role in Cactus Flower.

Sandler is so genuinely funny and likeable, and his chemistry with Aniston is so charming that it's a terrible shame he doesn't put more thought into these movies. Aniston is his best female co-star since Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Their moments together point to something great, but Sandler and his usual director either didn't notice or don't care. I think he's stuck: whenever he tries something vaguely ambitious, his fans stay away, and when he sticks to the formula, the critics blast him. Better to ignore it all and conjure up a movie that allows for a nice Hawaiian vacation with some hot actresses.

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