There are two ways to watch a film like Just Go With It. The first is to look at the characters and situations as if they existed in the real world. Through this lens as with most Hollywood productions the story is far-fetched and trite the characters too stereotypical to stomach. However even if you leave practicality at home and well just go with it it’s hard to find anything to enjoy in Adam Sandler’s new movie about a playboy plastic surgeon that convinces his assistant to pose as his ex-wife in an attempt to woo a new lady friend.
Danny Maccabee is afraid of having his heart broken like it was when he was in medical school so he uses his would-be wedding ring from a disastrous engagement as a chick magnet because you know all single ladies love married men. However when he finally meets and beds the girl of his dreams the tactic backfires as she thinks she’s just wrecked a home. Enter Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) Danny’s ordinary (well ordinary when compared to bombshell Brooklyn Decker) office mule who is lured into an ever-expanding web of lies so that he can win his Ms. Right.
The film’s weakest link is its script from writers Timothy Dowling (Role Models) and Allan Loeb (The Switch). Their simple story relies heavily on Sandler’s tried-and-true formula of physical gags and broad family humor offering the audience nothing they haven’t seen before and virtually no organic comedy. While the premise and principle players are very predictable the supporting cast injects some life into the picture most notably young starlet-in-training Bailee Madison whose cutesiness is the only thing I didn’t get sick of throughout the film. Honorable mentions also go to Nick Swardson as Sandler’s crazy cousin and Nicole Kidman who ought to try her hand at comedy more often.
Unfortunately their charm doesn’t compensate for the film’s uneven pacing. I was incredibly bored throughout the second act which is hampered by scenes that play longer than they should but biggest conundrum is Sandler himself: the main draw in Just Go With It as well as its most unlikable element. His character’s arc not to mention his performance is about as artificial as the breasts he gives his clients. Not only is Maccabee a self-centered liar; his deceptions go unpunished as he coasts through the film’s climax into happily-ever-after territory. Some will accept even embrace the Hollywood ending but the conclusion is a loss for Aniston’s character who is otherwise pleasant to watch. A dignified single mother she’s at first reluctant to help Danny due to the immoral nature of his plan but falls for him because he eventually develops a relationship with the kids. I guess she didn’t see him throw them in the mud earlier in the movie.
Generally speaking the greatest strength a contemporary romantic comedy has is its funny factor but director Dennis Dugan unexpectedly creates a comfortable quixotic vibe in Just Go With It which is surprising considering his past endeavors with Sandler (among them I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Grown Ups). It doesn’t make up for the lack of natural laughs but will sate the target audiences’ appetite for a harmless and forgettable Valentine’s Day snack.
This documentary follows superstar Jerry Seinfeld as he returns to stand-up trying out all-new jokes on tour. Along the way he meets newbie and fiercely driven young comic Orny Adams who aces his gig at Montreal's classic comedy festival and lands a dream manager (Seinfeld's own George Shapiro). From the Gotham Comedy Club Standup New York Carolines and the Comic Strip to gigs on the Tonight Show and Letterman Comedian tracks the progress of many a talented stand-up comic famous and not so who follow their dreams and obsessions to bravely try to make it solo. A trove of master comics like Bill Cosby Ray Romano Jay Leno Garry Shandling and Chris Rock share their wisdom jokes and war stories throughout. Seinfeld's behind-the-scenes preparation to go before a large theater audience suggests that the comic is ultimately motivated by love--the immediate instant gratification love from a big live receptive adoring loud audience.
A film with such appealing and charismatic personalities as Jerry Seinfeld Chris Rock Garry Shandling Jay Leno Bill Cosby and lesser-knowns can't miss having immense appeal. Seinfeld at his peak conveys immense charm and humor. His humbling yen to return to his stand-up roots further endears. Some comics captured like funny guy Colin Quinn suggest that life in the funny lane is irresistible though not without speed bumps and soft shoulders. But Leno proclaims that if you don't do the stand-up you don't have it. A final segment that has Seinfeld making a big return to stand-up in an awesomely gorgeous venue suggests why the thrill of going it alone is never gone.
Director Christian Charles (who directed Seinfeld in his award-winnning Amex commercials) mans one of the two DV cameras that captured the action and delivers the goods. Direction is straightforward and focused allowing the stand-up comics megastars or otherwise to always hold center stage. Charles understands that camera tricks are redundant since his compelling subjects will do the trick. Film clocks in at a peppy 81 minutes and is propelled by a jazzy score.