An old-fashioned Hollywood factory worker, Adam Sandler has churned out 30 movies since 1998. Some were so bad you wanted to leave the theatre halfway through, even if you were watching on a plane. But you forgave him, even the terrible ones - Little Nicky and Bedtime Stories - figuring a goof-off will occasionally goof up.
Sandler remains true to his regular-guy constituency by making fun of the movies he stars in - I'm a movie star, what a joke! But he does more than that. Sandler's real shtick is satirizing being a grownup. Whether he's a juvenile delinquent playing golf ( Happy Gilmore) or an Israeli commando extinguishing fire with hummus ( You Don't Mess With the Zohan), Sandler's characters are usually 45 going on 14.
Which brings us to his latest attempt at postponing adult responsibility, Just Go with It. Sandler plays Danny Maccabee, a selfish plastic surgeon with a sure-fire line for the ladies: Please save me, I'm unhappily married.
Yeah, that always works. Women love whiny lost causes. Pretend to smoke and leave your clothes all around the house and you'll have a harem.
Well, it works in Adam Sandler movies. Whenever Danny wanders into a bar, he goes into his act: On with the ring and sad, sad face.
"My wife beats me."
"Here, put your hand on a true heart," a 20-year-old woman says, placing Sandler's hand on her breast.
Life gets more complicated when Dr. Feelgood shows up at a party, and who should stroll up to him (in jiggling slow-motion) but Brooklyn Decker, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl. She plays a schoolteacher who falls in love with Sandler on the spot, even though he forgets to put on his ring. They spend the night on the beach, decorated in moonlight.
In the morning, she finds a wedding ring in his pants.
Uh-oh, our lying fraud is in trouble. What would a woman want him to do? That's right, he tells a bigger lie. Danny asks his medical assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife. That way he can divorce her and marry the sexy cover girl.
You know what happens, but the safely familiar is what makes Adam Sandler movies such an easy chore. Just Go with It is exactly that - sort of. Sandler and Aniston have fun at the office with Dr. Danny's patients, especially a woman with too much face work who can't retrieve a cocked eyebrow. Danny and Katherine have a good laugh, and their fun is infectious.
Sandler and Aniston easily pass the only important test of romantic comedies: We like them and want them to like each other.
If only the other cast members were as good. Nicole Kidman gets away with a small part as Aniston's scheming college nemesis. But Decker's best moments are all in slow motion, and the scant comic support comes from Sandler regular Nick Swardon playing a Prussian nitwit.
Despite the spotty supporting cast and absurd plot, Just Go with It will likely prove irresistible to Sandler loyalists, especially after a recent Super Bowl promo featuring the cast in Hawaii - a sight for cold eyes in February.
Speaking of which, the Super Bowl MVP is awarded a trip to Disneyland. Maybe in the future, he should be awarded a part in an Adam Sandler movie. There is no bigger male fantasy land.
Just Go With It
- Directed by Dennis Dugan
- Written by Timothy Dowling, Allan Loeb and I.A.L. Diamond
- Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Brooklyn Decker and Nick Swardson
- Classification: PG
Special to The Globe and Mail