Making the Grades
Have you ever dreamed of coming up with the perfect formula that would allow you to make loads of money while seemingly goofing around? Adam Sandler appears to have found it. If you’ve seen even one Sandler movie, you’ve likely seen his formula in action. At the center of his stories is a good-hearted (though he sometimes doesn’t know it), average guy (played by Sandler) who must overcome some type of hardship to win the girl of his dreams. Luckily in this make-believe world it always works out.
In Just Go With It, Sandler’s average guy character is a plastic surgeon who can afford to buy several pairs of $1,700 shoes (plus matching bags) for his assistant and foot the bill for a six person jaunt to Hawaii where he spends between $8,000 and $12,000 a night for each room in a luxury hotel. His goal in coming to the idyllic tropical location is to finalize a divorce with someone he never married so he can exchange wedding nuptials with a woman half his age.
Danny (Sandler) gets himself into this expensive mess by telling a lie years earlier. After discovering women in bars are attracted to unhappily married men, he began wearing a wedding band in order to get sympathetic sex from strangers. Then one night at a swanky L.A. party (where the host can hardly move his face thanks to Botox), Danny meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and instantly falls in love with the young, blonde, amply endowed schoolteacher (though we’re not sure if it’s her or her chest he’s smitten with). Then, following a night of lusty liaisons on the beach, Palmer discovers Danny’s wedding band in his pocket. Having watched her own parents’ marriage dissolve due to unfaithfulness, she refuses to have anything to do with him until she is sure he has called it quits his wife.
However with no wife to divorce, Danny badgers his office assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) into pretending to be married to him. He also fakes fatherhood with Katherine’s two children Maggie and Michael (Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck). From there the lies multiply at an exponential rate with Danny not being the only one to fib. His cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson) pretends to be Katherine’s lover so that he can come along for a free trip. And once the group arrives on the island, Katherine runs into a competitive former college roommate (Nicole Kidman) that she can’t bear to be truthful with.
Although the script is a basic paint-by-number, several scenes are rescued by the comfortable chemistry between Sandler and Aniston who have been friends off screen for over 20 years. The long-time relationship allows for lots of ad-libbing in the movie, a factor that contributes to some funny moments but makes for terrible continuity during editing.
However, these brief moments of humor pale in comparison to the onslaught of crude sexual and scatological jokes which make up most of the comedy in this script. Michael’s obsession with defecation and Eddie’s futile attempts at sexual relations, along with plenty of dialogue about surgically enhanced body parts, quickly become tiresome. And with plenty of cleavage-baring clothing and barely-there bikinis this romantic comedy feels much more like a male fantasy flick where being an average guy means anything but having an ordinary life.
While rounding up a bunch of famous faces, jetting off to a tropical location and exchanging off-the-cuff one liners works for Sandler, the final cut of this film is one families will likely prefer to just go without.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Just Go With It.
How likely is it that a man of Danny’s age with his sexual background will be able to change his habits and settle down into a committed relationship? Is he the kind of man a woman could feel comfortable marrying?
The film suffers from several continuity problems. While some may be attributed to the actors’ ad-libbing, what other continuity issues arise? For example, where did the blankets on the beach come from? What challenges does the editing department face in maintaining the movie’s flow?
How does one lie lead to another in this story? Will Danny ever be able to be honest with Palmer?