Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Go With It

Happy Pretend Family

Director Dennis Dugan was responsible for a number of comedies with funnyman Adam Sandler, from Happy Gilmore to Big Daddy in the 90s, to the more recent fare of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and Grown Ups. I'm a big fan of some of these if I may say low brow offerings, but hey, don't berate me for having a good time. As with most of the comedies Sandler has starred in thus far, most straddle between two broad areas of being funny, and yet having some major drama and/or romantic fare to bulk up the running time, making the films seem more like two halves put together.

And Just Go With It is no different. Based on a French stage play and an earlier film called Cactus Flower in the 60s (hence making this a modern day remake of sorts), this movie has both all out, riotous scenes designed to make you laugh, yet having depth following a tried and tested formula for a romance, which gets catalyzed by a little white lie that grows out of control, needing as one character puts it, an index card to keep track of the sprawling tales they have to tell and keep at in order to not puncture their respective ruses.

So the comedy here involves lies and truths, with Adam Sandler's renowned plastic surgeon Danny finding out the power of sympathy and the sex that comes with it with his wearing of a wedding ring, only that he hasn't got married just yet, playing on how some swingers just love to get it going with married men. Just when he's serious about Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a really young girl for his age, she finds that wedding band, and he cooks up the story that he's actually getting a divorce. Palmer needing proof meant Danny's persuasion (with benefits in kind) of his assistant / reception Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), a divorcee with two kids, to pose as his soon to be ex-wife, and then roping in her children Maggie (Bailee Madison) and Michael (Griffin Gluck) to pose as his as well.

And it goes two ways, since Katherine has a thing about her rival from school for many years (I shall not name this A-list actress so as not to spoil the surprise on her comedic performance, so don't go up looking, ok?), and uses her pretense with Danny to try and keep up with the Joneses. Needless to say their scheme of being husband and wife means to keep up with the multitude of lies for each different scenario, either Danny's or Katherine's, which naturally lead to some fun scenarios. But the funniest of course belongs to that between Sandler, Madison and Gluck, one who decides to ham it up with a British accent, while the other is just plain sombre, and their tip top act as the father-children draws countless of laughter since Danny often finds himself being blackmailed by the kids, who are doing a perfect job. The phototaking scene on the golf course is priceless, and possibly one of the funniest in the film.

Then comes the dramatic, romantic half, where you can see it coming from a mile away when both Sandler and Aniston's Danny and Katherine come on screen, with their banter, the premise, the setup and such all spelling f-o-r-m-u-l-a, and you'll just about know what happens between them. The romance between Danny and Palmer then looked like a shade of Ben Stiller's The Heartbreak Kid in a way, and like many other romantic comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Hawaii serves as the perfect backdrop for friendships and relationships to unravel, and also to provide the Hilton hotel another major product placement opportunity after Up in the Air.

A film like this will never steer clear of toilet humour, and they are here by the truckloads. Yes it's lowbrow sometimes, but a great way to de-stress after a hard day's work, since you know exactly what you're in for, and the film delivers just that.

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