Review: Just Go With It

* (M)

Director: Dennis Dugan.

Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Nicole Kidman, Dave Matthews.

DESPITE what the title says, don't go with it.

The highest compliment I can pay this film is that it's better than Sandler's last effort Grown Ups. That's not saying much, but at least there were a handful of chuckles here. Not many - I can still count them on one hand - but that's about five more laughs than there were in Grown Ups.

Aside from two good efforts in recent years (Funny People, Reign Over Me), Sandler hasn't been trying very hard of late. His production company Happy Madison seems to care little for script and is more interested in getting Sandler and some of his mates together to make a movie in a nice location so they can have a good time. At least they're having fun. The same can't be said for audiences.

The one-time Happy Gilmore plays plastic surgeon Danny Maccabee, a slightly despicable but supposedly likeable man whose key technique for picking up women involves a wedding ring and a sob story about an unhappy marriage.

Then he meets young school teacher Palmer Dodge (played by well-endowed swimsuit model Decker) and "falls in love" - which means he has to come up with a fake wife (who's soon to be a fake ex-wife) and a couple of fake kids.

For this ruse Danny ropes in his long-suffering assistant and fem-buddy Katherine (Aniston) and her children and for some reason they all go to Hawaii and for no reason Danny's mate Eddie (Swardson) comes along and pretends to be a German.

The plotting really is that hap-hazard. There are some jaw-dropping moments where you can't help but wonder "wow, did they really just do that?". "Just Go With It" seems to be a mantra from the film-makers; a pleading cry as they beg the audience to ignore the increasingly insane and illogical plot manoeuvres.

Despite the ramshackle story arc, Just Go With It is still incredibly predictable. Even the arrival of Nicole Kidman as Katherine's old high school "frenemy" barely raises an eyebrow (which is good because Kidman can't either - boom boom!).

Are there any upsides to this movie, I hear you ask? Well, Sandler and Aniston share a definite chemistry and their comedic back-and-forths provide the entirety of the laughs. They seem to be enjoying themselves, which helps lighten the mood, but not enough for you to ignore the fact that most of the characters are emotionally stunted pathological liars doing shameful things.

Another plus is the score's use of songs by The Police, although they even mess this up by sticking in some ill-advised mash-ups.

The film was supposedly a remake of the successful 1969 film Cactus Flower, which won an Academy Award for Goldie Hawn. No one will win any awards for this film - except for Razzies.

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