When the lights went down in the theater for Just Go With It to start and the Happy Madison production company logo appeared on the screen, the guy sitting across the aisle from me immediately burst into laughter. I immediately had a feeling that he and I walked in expecting different films. He was probably hoping for a movie as funny as Sandler’s last release, Grown Ups. I was hoping for something much better than the last pile Sandler released…Grown Ups.
Adam Sandler means a lot of different things to different people. I have been the target demographic for roughly every film he has made in his career, from Billy Madison through Funny People. While many have always turned their noses up, thinking of him as nothing more than a baby-talking buffoon, he has shown steady growth as an actor through such films as Punch Drunk Love and Spanglish. However, the rocky reception given 2009’s Funny People seems to have scared him into playing it safe. What better way to play it safe than make a vacation film in Hawaii with your friends?
In JGWI, Sandler stars as Danny, a single plastic surgeon who has been posing as an unhappily married man to pick up women for one night stands for years. When meets the young Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) he falls in love, but unfortunately she finds his fake wedding ring. To cover his tracks, he has his assistant (Jennifer Aniston) pose as his soon to be ex-wife. It becomes even more complicated once her two kids are accidentally brought into the ruse.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the movie. It’s a little long with a running time of nearly two hours. With the exception of Nick Swarsdon as Sandler’s cousin Eddie, everyone does a fine job with the material. I was especially surprised by Decker’s performance. She managed to rise above what could have been a one-note character, with no help from a script that called on her to carry a copy of Seventeen magazine around and just stand under waterfalls for much of the second half of the movie.
On a weekend packed with new releases, this is your best bet. It surprised me how funny I still find Sandler after all these years. If you are a fan of Sandler I’m willing to bet you won’t be disappointed either.