Just Go With ItAfter the all-round catastrophe that was last year’s “Grown Ups,” Adam Sandler and director Dennis Dugan have re-teamed once again to thrust an improbable comedy in the way of movie audiences. The only real hope for “Just Go With It” was the thought that maybe, just maybe, the pair had hit rock-bottom and that from here the only way was up. And while you certainly shouldn’t approach it with any expectations whatsoever, this film does better than several of its predecessors, allowing us at least a reminder that Adam Sandler can actually be funny. However, mere glimpses of talent do not a good film make and highlights just how pedestrian Dugan’s output in the new millennium has been.

A mush of different rom-com threads, “Just Go With It” tells of cosmetic surgeon Danny (Sandler) who, in an attempt to bed as many women as possible without fear of commitment, wears a wedding-ring despite being single. This romping lifestyle becomes a problem however when he meets the woman of his dreams Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) who does not wish to break a marriage apart. Desperate not to loose her, Danny invents an elaborate tale of divorce that soon involves his assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) and her two children. As the lies start piling up, the troupe all fly on holiday to Hawaii, accompanied by the demented Eddie (Nick Swardson) who can only add to Danny’s problems. Check off all the usual comedic shenanigans, awkward situations and some silly pranks including a gross case of animal-abuse and you have yourself almost two hours’ cheap entertainment. This would flounder immediately if it weren’t for Jennifer Aniston who resurrects a good dose of the humorous expertise she nurtured during the ten seasons of “Friends.” Her scenes with Sandler, particularly within the first half-hour, are without doubt the film’s best, managing to keep things on track. Much less interesting is Brooklyn Decker whose basic function as supermodel eye-candy is so blindingly obvious it’s embarrassing. Her maths teacher role is about as credible as her shallow motivations and eventual change of heart.

Once in Hawaii, several of the film’s more unsavoury elements crowd out the interactions between Sandler and Aniston: There’s a sub-plot involving an egotistical Nicole Kidman as Aniston’s high-school “pal” and musician Dave Matthews which is instantly forgettable. A supposedly damaging insight into the cosmetics industry (i.e. clearly CGI’d and absurdly deformed victims of silicon) is low comedy that might elicit a snigger but no more. Worst of all is the decidedly unfunny Swardson, sporting hugely magnifying specs and a faux-German accent. It’s the collection of these separate strands that make portions of “Just Go With It” almost intolerable. Aniston’s two kids played by Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck have their moments, particularly when practicing Mafia stares and extorting money from Sandler but the presence of a cockney accent on it’s own amounts to little style and no substance. Celebrity cameos by Heidi Montag and Andy Roddick simply go unnoticed. Dugan and the somewhat lazy screenplay are largely to blame for the film’s misfortune and despite the lead duo’s best efforts, they cannot entirely prevent the end product from sinking.

The music for most rom-coms are lead by song compilations and “Just Go With It” is no exception. As an addition, several songs by the likes of Rihanna, The Bee Gees and The Beach Boys have been mixed together as sort of mashups that would be most obnoxious on album, were one to be released. That is looking unlikely however. Equally unlikely to get a release is the film’s original score composed by Dugan regular Rupert Gregson-Williams (brother to the more successful Harry). The score too falls into the mainstream rom-com music category – mostly soothing or else quirkily plucked strings form the basis of a score that is pleasant if unremarkable and remains anonymous throughout the film. The recognisable songs are understandably pushed to the forefront by the studio. Rupert Gregson-Williams is a young, talented composer who deserves to get better gigs than this.

“Just Go With It” is at best a baby-step in the right direction though still testament to Hollywood’s over-reliance on stock fare that will soon disappear into the forgotten-films graveyard. It will entertain you once but no more than that.

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