Just Go With It: movie review

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Adam Sandler plays a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon in 'Just Go With It,' a fumbling comedy that could have benefitted from surgical reconstruction.

Tracy Bennett/Columbia Pictures-Sony/AP
Bailee Madison, Adam Sandler, and Griffin Gluck are shown in a scene from 'Just Go with It.'

Adam Sandler plays a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon in “Just Go With It,” a fumbling comedy directed by Dennis Dugan that could have benefitted from surgical reconstruction. How about some liposuction to siphon off all those lame jokes?

Very loosely based on the 1969 Walter Matthau comedy “Cactus Flower,” “Just Go With It” has Sandler, as Danny, playing opposite Jennifer Aniston in what is largely, though inadvertantly, a chemistry-less exercise. Her Katherine, Danny’s loyal assistant, is a divorced mom with two aggravatingly precocious kids (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck). She knows all of Danny’s tricks and foibles, of which there are many.

Topping the list is his penchant for sporting a wedding ring despite not being married. This ploy, he has discovered, makes him a babe magnet. So does being a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, although the filmmakers tone down the mercenary voraciousness of his playmates. Danny is happy to be a roving roué until he meets the babe-a-licious Palmer, played by SI swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. (Her name sounds like a sandwich at a New York deli).

The 20-something Palmer is such a ding-a-ling darling that we are never once made to think she’s also a gold digger. Still, the question lingers: What exactly does she see in Danny aside from his wallet? When she angrily discovers a wedding ring in his pocket after a night of beachside bliss, he tries to cover his tracks by convincing Katherine to pretend to be his soon-to-be-divorced wife. He needn’t have bothered. The way Palmer is portrayed, she would have stayed with Danny even if he turned out to be the Hillside Strangler.

When Danny and the entire entourage, including an irritating hanger-on played by Nick Swardson, decamp to Hawaii to cool out, it’s inevitable he and Katherine will discover they are made for each other. Until that point we must endure subpar potty jokes, a scene involving a sheep receiving the Heimlich maneuver, lots of slo-mo shots of bikini clad beach gamboling a la “10,” and other assorted time-stretchers.

Throughout it all, Sandler gamely attempts to be heartfelt and Aniston pushes the quirky-cutesy stuff. As an energy boost, Nicole Kidman sashays onto the scene for an extended cameo as Devlin, an old sorority sister and rival of Katherine’s. Kidman gives a screechingly over-the-top performance, which is appropriate but also really annoying. In what is meant as the film’s comic highpoint, Katherine and Devlin compete in a hula contest involving their respective partners and a pair of coconuts. It doesn’t look like fun. Maybe they should have tried it with watermelons. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for frequent crude and sexual content, partial nudity, brief drug references and language.)

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