Thursday, July 7, 2011
Just Go With It (Dennis Dugan, 2011) -- B-
One thing's certain about Adam Sandler: he's riding his patented brand of giddy juvenilia to the end, stopping only seldom to make "real" films like Punch-Drunk Love and Funny People. And so the trend continues with Just Go With It, a remake of the 1969 film Cactus Flower (unseen by me), only I'd imagine that Walter Matthau starrer had less shots to the groin gags and probably didn't contain a scene where someone's hand gets shit on while they lie asleep in a bathtub. Nevertheless - what Sandler and crew never get enough credit for is their sense of the absurd, not so much "random" chic as socio-culturally reactive, prizing sight gags and often puzzled reaction shots over sitcom-level punchlines. There's a silliness that instantly satirizes, especially when something like plastic surgery is the target - Sandler has never stopped poking fun at bourgeois narcissism. Moreover, with Sandler's Danny as the straight-man more than the young hothead (co-star Nick Swardson hilariously picks up the slack on this end), there's a humble maturity present in the relationship with Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), albeit one rooted in goofy naivete and fantasy than any genuine attempt to address an aging man's discontent with the single life. No such luck - but then again, Sandler's chosen comedic mode consistently charms because of its tone and pace, hardly ever smug or overtly precious. Even when not outright funny (probably 80% of the time), Sandler and director Dennis Dugan keep things peppy and fleet.