Wednesday 13 December 2017

Movies: Just go with it **


Paul Whitington

The appeal of Adam Sandler has always eluded me. While in person he seems a charming and likeable man, his comedy tends towards the hopelessly retro, and even his better films (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy) could have been made in the 70s.

A collaboration with his director of choice, Dennis Dugan, Just Go With It is, in fact, a remake of a 1969 film called Cactus Flower, and it's very much within the Sandler comfort zone. He plays a wealthy and successful plastic surgeon called Danny Maccabee who for some years has been pretending to be unhappily married in order to attract women. He wears a ring and mopes in bars and this trick has been working very well for him, until he meets a woman he actually wants to commit to.

Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) is a gorgeous 23-year-old blonde who's bright and nice and thinks Danny is great. But when she finds his wedding ring in his jeans she thinks he's really married, so Danny has to find a way of convincing her he's a nice guy. His solution is to get his assistant at work, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to pretend to be his cruel and indifferent wife, but this ruse soon gets so out of hand that Danny winds up on a Hawaiian holiday with Palmer, Katherine and her two kids, whom Danny is pretending are his own.

In essence, Just Go With It is an old-fashioned French farce, and a pretty lazily constructed one at that, with a wavering script and some deeply irritating performances, most notably from Nick Swardson as a hysterical best friend. However, the film does have genuinely funny moments, in part thanks to Sandler but mainly to his co-star Ms Aniston, an actress with more comic instinct in her little finger than the rest of them put together. And Nicole Kidman is very good in an extended cameo as a cold and snooty friend.

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