Directed by Dennis Dugan. Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman.
Another romantic comedy from the stable of Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison, Just Go With It is a comical film that gradually and deftly segues into romantic territory.
Danny McCabe (Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon who pretends to be married (now that’s a different angle) to a tyrant of a wife in order to sleep with doting women who take pity on the poor schmuck. His perky assistant Katherine (Aniston) doesn’t approve of his deceptions but she and her kids have sort of adopted Danny as family and don’t mind giving him a bit of ribbing about it now and then.
Danny meets the woman of his dreams, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) but this time his being married is a hindrance. Concocting a family comprising Katherine and her two kids as well as an impending divorce, Danny digs his well of lies far deeper than he expected to thanks to his admiring assistant’s help and his conniving ‘children’s’ masterful act. All this because Palmer wants to make sure she’s not breaking up a family.
This could have been just another formula rom-com about guy chasing girl but thankfully it isn’t. Multi-talented Sandler and his frequent collaborator director Dennis Dugan have crafted a well-etched script that touches upon issues of family, fidelity and friendship. The jokes aren’t all vulgar, and I found myself with a big smile on my face throughout the film. The kids are absolutely superb. Bailee Madison is the young daughter wanting to be an actress and donning a Brit accent and little Griffin Gluck is the shy boy wanting to swim with dolphins in Hawaii but wants Danny to pay for the trip. The tricks they get upto to blackmail Danny and their own demons about being abandoned by their father make them as important characters in the film as the lead pair.
Nicole Kidman has quite an impressive guest appearance as Katherine’s jealous college buddy Devlin. After serious roles, Nicole proves she’s a versatile actor who can do Academy Award nominated fare (Rabbit Hole) as well as Sandler-type comedies. Nick Swardson plays Eddie, Danny’s penis-enhanced cousin who dons a German accent and pretends to be Katherine’s new love interest Dolph. Yes, Dolph Lundgren!
What’s brilliant about Sandler’s films is that there’s always an underlying social comment, some titbit of life lessons tucked away in there. There is emotion, sentimentality, frivolity and heart. Just Go With It leaves out the romance till the end of the film when ever so artistically, a friendship turns into a love affair. Even Sandler’s buxom blonde lust interest isn’t ditsy. She cares about his family, is impressed with his fathering skills (well not all the time) and has the smarts to realise Danny may just still be in love with his ‘ex-wife’).