Just Go With It (2011)

Crimes

  • Being a shapeless farce filled with the sort of half-assed funny-face and groin-injury comedy that has become Adam Sandler’s specialty
  • Flippantly portraying minorities as lazy, servile semi-humans
  • Featuring scenes in which Jennifer Aniston and half-clothed swimsuit-model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker compete for the affections of Sandler’s charmless protagonist, a plastic surgeon who enlists Aniston and her kids to pose as his children and ex-wife in order to keep up an elaborate lie he’s told Decker
  • Relying on characters adopting “funny” accents—German for Sandler perma-sidekick Nick Swardson, British for Bailee Madison, who plays one of Aniston’s kids—that wouldn’t go over at a college sketch night

Defender: While one of the film’s two commentaries is billed on the DVD packaging as the work of Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson, and “the filmmakers,” it features Sandler and Swardson prominently, and then others who don’t say much and receive no introduction. Context clues reveal them as executive producers Tim Herlihy and Allen Covert. Perhaps there are others as well? We may never know. (Director Dennis Dugan also has a track to himself.)

Tone of commentary: Obligatory. Neither Sandler nor Swardson seems particularly thrilled to be doing a commentary. They occasionally try to comment on the content of the film, as opposed to the minutiae of production, or, God forbid, entertaining listeners with jokes. When their attention does turn to the material, their comments are usually fleeting and inaccurate. “This is where your chemistry with Jen really started to take shape,” Swardson tells Sandler at one point. “Yeah yeah,” he replies.

Occasionally, Sandler will start describing in unnecessary detail the plot of the film audiences have presumably already seen. Of Swardson’s perpetually leering horndog character, who’s recently had a penis implant, he says, “Nick’s character is horny for girls. He’s trying to try out his new penis.” (This in turn leads to a fairly graphic description of the penile enlargement process.) 

Mostly, Sandler and Swardson reveal unenlightening details about bit players and their ties to his Happy Madison production company. Of one actor, Sandler says, “That’s Darrin, Jennifer’s husband. And they’re having a baby.” “Not Jennifer Aniston,” Swardson clarifies. “Jennifer who works at Happy Madison.”

What went wrong: What went wrong? Nothing, of course. How could anything be wrong about a movie in which the cast got to hang out at a swank hotel in Hawaii? Apart from remembering some difficult shooting days—including a scene shot in, gasp, a room without air conditioning—no one admits any flaws with the widely disliked, commercially successful film. But no one seems that impressed with it, either. One of the few moments when the low-key track generates any energy comes during a scene set at a Pizza Hut, which causes Swardson to note, “That’s the same Pizza Hut from Benchwarmers!” 

Comments on the cast: What a fantastic cast! Decker is described as a “Class-A girl,” Aniston gets points for her acting chops, and everyone notes how funny unbilled guest star Nicole Kidman is as Aniston’s rival. Oh, and did you notice they’re also totally hot? Swardson and Sandler do, admiring Kidman’s abs and Aniston and Decker’s Baywatch-like slow-motion bikini scenes. “Aniston’s body is pretty ridiculous. You know your body’s good when it looks good in slow motion,” Sandler says.

The kids are good too. “They steal most of the movie,” Sandler says. “But in the editing room, I noticed that, and I said, ‘Let’s back off of them a little bit and give it back to me.’” It’s unclear whether he’s joking. Moonlighting rock star Dave Matthews gets some kind words too, particularly in reference to a scene where he picks up a coconut with his ass-cheeks, apparently the result of three weeks of practice.

Inevitable dash of pretension: Sandler and Swardson get hung up on the magic of filmmaking, which allows scenes shot on a set in Culver City and on location in Hawaii to be edited together to create the illusion of a seamless reality. Whoa. Also, a running thread concerns the process by which Sandler chooses how many buttons on his shirt to unbutton in each scene.

Commentary in a nutshell: Sandler: “I know this was a very boring commentary. I hope you hated it.”

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