Just Go with It ✮1/2
by Glenn Lovell
What does Adam Sandler do when he wants to take a tax-deductible family vacation?
The same thing Vince Vaughn did with “Couples Retreat”: He cooks up an ensemble comedy, sets it in some exotic getaway, and invites a few close friends to share in the fun.
Sandler’s comp’d romp is called “Just Go with It.” It’s a forgettable update of an equally forgettable 1969 farce called “Cactus Flower.” Based on the Broadway hit of the same title, “Cactus Flower” starred Walter Matthau as a dentist, Ingrid Bergman as his accommodating hygienist, and Goldie Hawn (in her Oscar-winning role) as Matthau’s ditsy, significantly younger girlfriend.
In this version, which eventually finds its way to deluxe accommodations in Hawaii, Sandler plays a plastic surgeon with a self-image problem. He co-stars with Jennifer Aniston and Sports Illustrated cover girl Brooklyn Decker, who’s frequently ogled in slow motion a la Bo Derek in “10.”
Standup comic Nick Swardson gets most of the laughs as Sandler’s nitwit cousin. When called upon, Swardson does a reasonably good impression of Peter Seller’s Dr. Zempf in “Lolita.”
Nicole Kidman, obviously in need of some serious R&R after “Rabbit Hole,” stops by for a lame cameo as Aniston obnoxious high school pal. Sandler should think twice about inviting Kidman on his next work-vacation.
Sandler’s Danny, who discovered that his fiancée was fooling around moments before the wedding, has, over the years, devised the perfect ruse to jump from one noncommittal cuddle to another: He pretends he’s the victim of an abusive wife. Things become complicated when he decides to commit to Palmer (Decker), who finds his prop wedding band. Now Danny has to come up with an estranged wife to convince the new love of his life he isn’t really married. Katherine (Aniston), his bemused assistant, agrees to play along ‒ for the price of a Rodeo Drive makeover.
As they have a way of doing in bad farces, one lie leads to another and pretty soon Danny is being blackmailed by his fake wife, his fake wife’s fake boyfriend, and his fake children, who trick him into that “family” getaway.
“Just Go with It” reunites Sandler with Dennis Dugan, who directed him in some of his biggest hits, including “Happy Gilmore” and last year’s “Grown Ups.” In this outing Dugan coaxes a more subdued performance from his star, which is good considering that this is, comparatively speaking, a more sophisticated comedy romance.
Well, as sophisticated as any comedy can be that features running boob and butt jokes. You can imagine the jubilation when Dugan and Sandler hit on the main character’s profession. What a bonanza! Sight gag after sight gag of plastic surgery mishaps. Kevin Nealon is actually very funny as a party host so addicted to Botox that his face resembles stretched cellophane.
Aniston ‒ who, pardon the cliché, continues to light up the screen ‒ is easily the best thing about this movie. The worst? Hard to say. Certainly the string of shameless product placements and the tourist-bureau inserts of Hawaii at sunset are high on our list.
But, hey, vacations from real movies cost money.
JUST GO WITH IT ✮1/2 With Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Nicole Kidman. Directed by Dennis Dugan; scripted by Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling from I.A.L. Diamond script and Abe Burrows plays. 116 min. PG-13 (for profanity, potty humor)