Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Skip It

As a critic I've seen my fair share of romantic comedies over the years. Some are cute, some are sweet, some are funny, and far too many that are dumber than the celluloid on which they've been shot.

Fans who feel Adam Sandler has gotten too far away from his roots (where he made ridiculous comedies without a semblance of reason) are in for a treat. Sadly the rest of us will have to struggle through the painful cinematic misfire that is Just Go With It.

Sandler stars as Danny, a plastic surgeon who, on his wedding day, learns his wife-to-be has been cheating on him. He takes his sorrows to the local bar where his wedding ring and white lies about his long-suffering dysfunctional marriage turn into years of bedding a number of young hotties that rivals Wilt Chamberlain.

Everything in Just Go With It is based on lies, and not even good ones. The main plot begins when Danny sleeps with a beautiful woman on the beach (played by Brooklyn Decker, whose bikini gives the film's only good performance).

After she finds his wedding ring the next morning, he creates a complicated lie which quickly, and moronically, spirals further and futher out of control in the most insanely contrived series of events I can remember seeing in any film that didn't star Kate Hudson. The truth, a half-truth, or even a simple lie could easily solve 99% of the issues which are caused by this one scene but sadly Sandler's character seems as mentally challenged as the writers of this film.

The main trouble with Just Wait For It is nothing feels real. There's not a single character reaction that's at all believable or natural. And truth or a bit of drama is far too much to ask for when a cheap laugh will do. The second biggest problem is it's just not funny. At all. This is the kind of movie where one character will poop on someone's hand, where a sheep will receive mouth-to-mouth, and Sandler will take a header in the groin for all the cheap laughs that can be had.

Jennifer Aniston stars as Danny's assistant, a single mom with two precocious kids (Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck) who Danny uses as his fake family to impress his new girlfriend. Soon the entire group, plus his brother (Nick Swardson) doing a ridiculous Dolph Lundgren impersonation, fly to Hawaii to spend quality time together.

Although the scenery improves, the convoluted plot goes into overdrive including more lies involving  a painfully unfunny Nicole Kidman and the kind of basic Hawaiian sequences you've seen in every romantic comedy that takes place on the islands (overhead lush shots, hikes to watefalls and cliffs, hotel suites far too expensive for the characters to afford, and a dingy bar on the side of the island where something "funny" is sure to occur).

The comedic timing of both Sandler and Aniston is wasted here, and the script is so bad it's hard to judge whether or not Decker has a career as an actress. The first half-hour of Just Go With It is mind-numbingly dull. Sadly that's the film's high water mark. Once the group makes the trip to Hawaii becomes increasingly insufferable. Nor is there any real chemistry between Sandler and Decker, or Sandler and Aniston. We know who he should, and will, wind up with. We just don't care.

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