In 2009’s scabrously brilliant Funny People, Adam Sandler quite convincingly portrayed a burnt-out comedian with such contempt for his audience that his self-loathing couldn’t help but ooze from every pore. It is an astounding performance.
Just Go With It, Sandler’s latest, laziest attempt at fusing romantic comedy tropes with nitwit frat-boy punch-lines isn’t just vile, it is the movie that reveals Sandler as his crass, Mephistophelean Funny People alter ego—an indolent, hateful prick.
Based on an old French play that at one point became Billy Wilder’s writing-partner I.A.L Diamond’s screenplay for Cactus Flower and went on to win Goldie Hawn an Oscar back in 1970, Just Go With It has a distinguished pedigree but stubbornly remains as generic as its title. Directed by Dennis Dugan, Sandler’s chief enabler, the movie finds our middle-aged hero wearing a fake wedding ring to score cheap tail from dumb sluts at parties, complete with a faux-sympathetic backstory to make him seem slightly less like the most disgusting person who ever lived.
So kudos to Jennifer Aniston, as Sandler’s long-suffering office assistant who seems to stand outside the film itself, rolling her eyes and playing along with a healthy measure of reticence. Aniston’s natural inability to commit to a film—her plasticized TV-sized reaction shots and avoidance of character details by always being our favorite jilted celebrity, “Jennifer”—serve her well here. She appears as annoyed and disgusted with the plot machinations and supporting characters as we are.
As such, Aniston has never been so human or relatable.
A brutal 116 minutes find space for too many supporting characters to adopt phony accents, laboriously over-complicating a plot that never for one moment makes any sense. The only constant is an abject hatred of women, with the camera constantly ogling how they look in bikinis. (Often in slow motion.)
Even Nicole Kidman shows up, playing to the rafters but being a decent sport amid a series of not-good-enough jokes about her awful plastic surgery and gay ex-husband. She’s got a flinty backstory with Aniston, and the two square-off during a scantily clad hula-dance competition.
These two actresses demonstrate some terrific comic chemistry together, yet this is all cut short when the audience is actually asked to vote for which actress looks hotter half-naked—which just about sums up the Cro-Magnon Just Go With It in a couple of C-cup coconut shells.