Just Go With It

Posted on February 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

The good news: no one in this movie has sex with an old lady or gets stabbed in the foot. So Adam Sandler is making some progress. And Jennifer Aniston continues to be a lovely screen presence, with sublime comic timing and underrated acting skills. There’s a surprise appearance by an Oscar-winning star who gives the much-too-long-time-in-coming third act a boost.

Now for the bad news: just about everything else. Adam Sandler and director Dennis Dugan have taken the delightful 1969 comedy “Cactus Flower” and dumbed it down, grossed it up, and draaaaaagggggged it out. It wastes its premise, insults its characters, and shows an attitude toward the audience somewhere between neglect and contempt, sometimes both.


Sandler plays Danny Macabee, a plastic surgeon who discovers on his wedding day in 1988 that his bride was a gold-digging tramp. He also discovers that pity and unavailability is a sure recipe for getting what I will politely call “dates” with beautiful ladies. And he spends the next 23 years using a fake wedding ring and even faker tales of marital woe to sleep with an entire generation of women who are beautiful and compassionate but not very smart.


And then he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a sweet, smart, schoolteacher with the body of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue supermodel. But she discovers his ring and is hurt and angry. Rather than tell her the truth, that he is a hopeless cad who uses and exploits women, he decides to tell her he is getting divorced. She insists on meeting the wife to verify his story, and he enlists his office assistant Katherine (Aniston), a single mother, to act the part. Eventually, her children get caught up in the deception, and just as Katherine is fed up and about to tell Palmer the truth, she runs into an old friend and has her own reasons for wanting to appear happily married.


Following in the dishonorable tradition of “Couples Retreat,” this movie seems to have been generated by Sandler’s sole priority: a free trip to Hawaii. Side benefits: a reason for two of the world’s most beautiful women to gaze at him adoringly, walk around in bikinis, and kiss him; and doing as little work as possible. It’s one thing for a young man to be an immature slacker. Sandler is far too old for this. Both the actor and his character come across as doughy, louche, and charmless.

Bizarrely, Sandler seems to have no idea of how odious the behavior of his characters is, perhaps because audiences have been acting as enablers by continuing to buy tickets, failing to notice that he ran out of comic steam a long time ago. There is a disagreeable misogynistic and materialistic ugliness to the film. Macabee is a plastic surgeon just so there can be jokes about grotesque mishaps — Rachel Dratch as a woman with one eyebrow much higher than the other, Kevin Nealon as man with a face numb and paralyzed from Botox, some poor woman as the victim of a deflated breast implant who has to suffer an excruciating scene with Aniston and Sandler rubbing numbing cream on her nipples. The good guys in the movie, Katherine and her children, gouge Macabee out of tens of thousands of dollars of things with no sense of responsibility. Katherine is supposed to be devoted to her children but does not seem to care that she leaves her children with a negligent sitter. And then her worth is proven when she, too, turns out to look fabulous in a bikini, hardly a big reveal to anyone who has passed by People Magazine at the check-out counter. And everyone lies to and manipulates the perfectly nice Palmer. What is this supposed to show us? How are we supposed to care about these people?Not one but two characters assume idiotic accents for no reason. There is a scene involving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of a sheep. There are many jokes about male body parts and many, many, many jokes about poop, a subject of much more fascination to the characters in the movie than anything else, followed distantly by jealousy, competition, acquisitiveness, bikinis, being contemptuous of anyone who is old or overweight or unattractive (except for Sandler), and being resentful toward people who look good in bikinis and thus make us feel acquisitive or jealous. Oh, and homophobia. Please, don’t go with it.

Parents should know that this movie has a great deal of crude humor about various sexual and excretory bodily functions and some strong language. Characters drink, including drinking to deal with stress, and make jokes about substance abuse. <P><P> Family discussion: Why did Katherine want to impress Devlin? Why couldn’t Danny tell the truth to anyone but Katherine?<P><P>If you like this, try: “Cactus Flower” and “The Wedding Singer”

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Based on a play Comedy Remake Romance

24 Replies to “Just Go With It”

  1. Enjoyed your review, Nell, though I’m surprised to find myself disagreeing with a lot of it. You mention about how odious Sandler’s behavior is, but having just watched “Cactus Flower” earlier this week, I found his character far, far more likable than Walter Matthau. “Just Go with It” does sort of provide a set-up and reason for his character’s behavior with women, and I liked how he slowly changed and realized the error of his ways. With Matthau, he never had that arc–he was a snarky liar who doesn’t really change at all. By the end of it, I wanted Ingrid Bergman to move far away from him and not look back. I certainly did not believe they had a future together. With Sandler and Aniston, I did.
    Oh, and Bailee Madison was adorable. LOVED her British accent!

  2. If you go on this website to look up a movie for your child and it really actually isn’t as bad as it seems, you guys are going to end up just making your kids friends not want to hang out with them. Nothing in these movies, are things that your kid hasn’t seen or heard in their everyday lives. We see sexual conduct, vulgar language, drug and alcohol use EVERYDAY at school, or in public. It is nothing that they haven’t already known, or heard about. Put yourself in your child’s shoes, if you got held back from EVERYTHING you do, you would not have any friends, and it makes your child not want to be around you! For hell sakes, go sit with your child in the movie if your so insecure about it.

  3. Hello, Jackie! Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to comment. I’m sure you would agree that some kids are too young for some movies; all I do is try to give parents the information they need to make that decision for their own families. I recommended the R-rated “The King’s Speech” for middle and high schoolers, by the way. And the reason I don’t recommend this film is less because of the mature material than because it is simply a terrible film and not worth anyone’s time.
    I can see that you are a smart kid, so I am sure that you know better than to use the word I have removed from your comment; if not, perhaps it is because you have been exposed to the kinds of language and behavior you describe. Just a suggestion — always remember that a persuasive argument requires a respectful manner as well as logic and evidence. If you want to try again with all three, I’ll be glad to respond.

  4. Adam Sandler is one of those actors whose fame totally perplexes me. He’s not funny. He’s not talented. He’s simply an obnoxious teenager who never grew up. I avoid his movies like the plague, Aniston or no Aniston.

  5. This is rediculous u make the movie seem like its pornography its a movie with no nudity and yes it has alot of adult humor but its finr I though this movie was great so did my parents and grandmother for crying out loud they are getting old. The language used here is used hourly its what life is now its acceptable and ohh no partial nudity come on half of us have had sex already and the other half already know wht ur talking about the parents need to accept that and move on its a movie and the more u try to shelter your kids the more they will defy you

  6. It appears we agree on the appropriate age level for the movie, if not on the quality of the film and its humor. I’m always glad to hear from you but in the future let me suggest that you avoid the insults and work on your grammar, spelling, and quality of argument. Most people would assume that anyone so rude must also be ignorant or that anyone who argues so poorly must have bad judgment, but fortunately I have raised teenagers, so I know better.
    I know you know better, too, so come back and tell me what you liked about the movie and what you disagreed with in the specific criticisms in my review. Really, I’d love to know, and I’d love to see you at your best.

  7. Wow ok, u opened up a can of worms. Texting from a phone with a touch screen doesnt always make your writitng come out the way you want it to be. Anyway you avoided my statement and just focused on grammer and telling to to know better is rediculous, you are rediculous. this website is REDICULOUS! you talk like your a computer and act like your some queen. Life’s to short to care about what movie a kid sees i would take a 13 yr old to see that movie cause thats what its rated. What you dont know, and havent figured out is that lifes short Life is too short so, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile and this movie made us smile. So heres to you lady, stop this nonsense go be with your family and enjoy every second of your time here on earth, cause once its gone you cant get it back

  8. High school, I didn’t avoid your statement; you avoided mine. Normally, I’d delete a comment like this one to protect you from embarrassment, but I will leave it up to allow readers to judge us both for themselves. A suggestion: blaming your phone doesn’t help you make your case any more than trying to change the subject with insults.
    Again, I know you can do better, and when you are able to express yourself respectfully and thoughtfully, with your own ideas that relate to the issues under discussion, I’d be glad to hear from you. In the meantime, take your own advice to forgive quickly and see if you turn your enjoyment of the film into some spiritual generosity, dignity, and respect in dealing with others.

  9. Ok, yes it does make a difference if we are sending this to you on our phones, they are touch screens sometimes they select the wrong letter. and i didnt avoid your statement i told you we dont use correct grammer online. We save that for things that truely matter unlike this website. I have a problem with you because you tell everyone that almost every movie you see is horrible, inappropiate, or some other crazy acuzation. I have yet to see A’s on any recent movies. Your embarrassing yourself here lady becuase all you do is talk like your a computer and act like a nazi. Yeah delete my comment not because your afraid of us “embarrassing” ourselves, but becuase your scared and a socal phycopath. Stop telling us to do better too, your not our english teacher we wont use correct our grammer, and stop telling us we should know better, As an adult i question everything and im questioning you becuase it seems you are some website tyrant telling people what to not let their kids see. Its a glorious day for a revolution on your website! Maybe your not smart enough to comprehend english lets try German. Auf Wiedersehen mein Fuhrer!

  10. ok how about this we cut to the chase, here the last comment was poested by one of our other friends and was a bit extremem, but what we really want is that you adjust your rating of this movie. Due to the fact that you rated it so horribly our friend who is 17 wasnt able to see it because his mother saw your review. HES 17 AND COULDNT GO SEE A PG-13 MOVIE! she said when hes 18 he can do what he wants but that is reduculous. Please adjust your review because it seems your not a fan of new comedies due to the fact all the ones i see have an average of D ratings. and like i said please excuse the last comment as it was but by the kid himself and hes still alittle mad. Everymovie we want to see he cant because of this website, so in the future go easier on the movies.

  11. Oh, I don’t think anyone who reads your comment will confuse you with an adult, High School. But it was my disagreement with other critics that led me to start writing my own reviews back when I was a teenager, so I encourage you to do the same.

  12. High School Senior(s), I like your spirit and your tenacity (look it up). I’m sure you will make excellent parents, and someday you will find yourself smiling while some kid yells at you that you are an unfair dope (just as the Movie Mom is smiling at you now).
    It is good that you are curious and want your freedom to experience life. All healthy growing things do. Just keep in mind that your mother knows more than you do in one respect: you know only what it is like to be young, while she knows what it is like to be both young and old. How big a deal is that? Well, you will probably be old four times as long as you are young, so if you screw up when you are young, you could have a loonnng, loooonnnnnng time to suffer the consequences.
    I’ll let you in on a little secret about parents. If my kid was mature enough to take care of himself and cared about learning how to spell words like “ridiculous” (don’t tell me it’s the touchpad, you consistently misspelled that and other words the same way) and he was mature enough to interact with adults (such as future employers) in a calm manner, I would not worry at all about him seeing a PG-13 or even an R rated movie. I would feel confident that he was solid enough and had enough perspective so that he wouldn’t misconstrue or “act up” over the humor or the sex scenes or the drug scenes. He could see anything he wanted. If someone’s mother won’t let him go to a PG-13 movie, perhaps it’s because she doesn’t feel he passes that test.

  13. Ok i’ll admit im not the best speller haha but even though that is besides the point. We are 17 and 18 yr olds who know what we are up against in life we are are all AP students and old enough to make our own decisions. We are mature enough to handle ourselves we have been for years. The point is we are tired of being treated like we are kids. To be 18 and not be aloud to see a PG-13 rated movie is absolutly stupid. We get so fired up because we’ve had it with older adults telling us how to live our lives. Humans make mistakes but let us learn from them, stop shelting us and holding us back. look im not agianst your sight being popular im agianst that parents look at this sight and say ok im gonna imindatly agree with these people. Everyone needs to make their own decisions and stop worrying about what everyone else says. We are mature and we are adults, no one said we couldnt be angry though. And please dont tell me what we said was “immature” cause i would bet 1000 to 1 you have done the same in your life

  14. If you think spelling (it’s “allowed,” “absolutely,” “sheltering,” “against,” “site,” “immediately,” etc.), grammar, logic, and respect are beside the point, you don’t know what the point is. You don’t get given respect and authority to make your own decisions; you earn them. And as iorek said, you get there by demonstrating that you can accept certain minor restrictions without having a meltdown (hence the reference to maturity). And if you think that being kept out of a movie is “holding you back,” you really don’t know what growing up is all about. Maybe you could take some of this outrage and direct it against something else, perhaps something that genuinely holds others back.
    You may say that my manner of expression is too formal, but really, if I said something to you like, “What up, dawg,” wouldn’t you correctly say it was pretty dumb of me to try to sound like something I’m not? And if I wrote like you, would anyone pay me to write? Would anyone want to read it?
    I don’t tell anyone what to do. I give parents the information they like to have in making a decision about what is right for their families, given their own individual circumstances. I’m glad you’re in AP, but you will not succeed in class, college, work, and life if you can learn to express yourself with some dignity and self-respect. It isn’t some credential or birthday milestone that gets you there; it is demonstrating that you have enough respect for yourself and others to express yourself calmly and persuasively and have a sense of proportion about the battles you pick.
    Yes, I’ve done the same. When I was a kid. And learned that it doesn’t work. And that most of the time, my parents were right. And that when they weren’t, it didn’t kill me to wait until I was old enough to support myself so I could make my own choices. Which is part of being a grown-up.
    But I am enjoying your comments very much, so keep ’em coming!

  15. Dear Movie Mom,
    Are you really going to argue with, demoralize and insult these kids? I am sure you have relied on spell-check for every form of communication you have used in the past 15 years, so chill babe. I come to your site for reviews, and to be honest most of which I disagree. The Mom’s all seem to think you are god’s gift to movie reviews, I think you might just be writing for the right to make a handsome pay check. Lighten up, concentrate on your job, find some humor in your life and don’t judge every movie by using, ugh, The Last Temptation of Christ as your baseline. I do agree though Adam Sandler ran out of (if he ever had any) steam a looooong time ago.

  16. Al, how does it demoralize someone to show them the respect of responding substantively to their comments? On the contrary, I am treating them like the grown-ups they say they are and they have responded in turn so they clearly do not feel offended. Maybe you’re the one who needs to chill, babe.
    This is not about politics or religion. I get a lot of complaints readers when I give good reviews to movies with profanity and violence and sex or support positive portrayals of gay characters, but I still do it. And I only wish my paycheck was handsome! If you can find a place that pays well for movie reviews, let me know. I do this as a labor of love and got no pay at all for many years until I had established an archive and readership.
    I find it very funny that at the end of your complaint you actually agree with my review! If Sandler was putting any effort at all into his films, I’d be glad to give them better reviews.

  17. Al’s right you need to stop judging moveies so horribly stop looking at them half empty how about you tell us what you like about the movie instead of telling us what you hate. it not only makes it more enjoyable but more interesting. the reason we are so upfront and demanding is because you seem to lack the response we require when we tell you the first time. that is something adults should know about… We are mature we are demanding and we are tenacious not because we are leaders and we tell people what is right and what is wrong. This world has gone to hell if this is what it comes to. Telling people that movies suck and never to go see them. Like ive said not one movie ive seen recently has been given a positive outlook. i mean even “Grown ups” i know it had adam sandler in it but come on it was a halarious movie. I mean i cant believe u gave the exspendables a B i though from your track record it would be an F so im happy about that i agree with you there i would give it an A but thats just me. Just look at it from a movie lovers view not a mother view. (PS. I wish all sites had spell check)

  18. Thanks for the response, HSSP! Since you’re in AP class, I know you can do your homework better than you have in evaluating my reviews. Just a quick check shows that of my last 10 reviews, I gave one D, two Cs, and the rest B-, B, or B+. So that means 70 percent of my most recent reviews were positive, and each of those reviews included my description of what I liked. In no case did I tell anyone not to see a movie; some people may find the things I said I did not like very appealing (as apparently you did).
    And apparently you think you have the right to make judgments about right and wrong and good and bad, but I don’t? You are far more guilty of what you accuse me of than I am. But I’m glad you liked my review of “The Expendables.”
    Keep in mind, though, that “requiring” a response does not mean deserving capitulation. I am glad to respond but that doesn’t mean you will persuade me unless you can give me a better argument than you have so far. I am a movie lover and a mom, and I have to bring everything I am to what I write, as you should, too. As you can see, I also get complaints from people who think I should not give a good review to a movie like “Kill Bill” or “Drive Angry” because it is not suitable for children. But I review every movie in light of how well it delivers on what it sets out to do for the audience it intends to reach. And I review every movie according to my own truest reaction, based on many years of studying movies and writing and based on doing my best to keep an open mind and see the best in whatever I am watching.
    P.S. You shouldn’t need spell check for words like “movies” and “expendables.” It’s good mental exercise to do the work yourself. And if you think the world has gone to hell because one out of the thousands of movie critics doesn’t like a film you think is funny, you need to re-think your definition of maturity.

  19. Al, I was enjoying the protracted dialogue between the Movie Mom and these high school kids. They obviously feel passionately about their subject, and rather than drop an insult and run, they dig in their heels and attempt to engage in a debate on the merits. I may think they have some growing up to do, and I may think some of their indignation is misplaced, but I salute their sincerity and their backbone.
    You, on the other hand, seem to think these kids are so weak and insubstantial they will crumble into dust and blow away if someone suggests they take a different approach. My friend, that’s what being a “student” is all about. Yet, you write, “are you really going to argue with, demoralize and insult these kids?” If that’s what you call demoralizing and insulting, I assume you are not much more than a kid yourself. (Your juvenile references to “chill babe” and “lighten up” reinforce this view). Don’t project your own weakness in these kids. Let them speak for themselves.

  20. Ok i get it, im not a good speller, stop pointing that out. I type fast and i submit it you can stop with the spelling and move on to a different insult if you can find one. Thanks Iorek i appreciate it and take the criticism. But we are mature, we arent cursing like crazy or insanely out-of-line here. We are simply demanding becuase we are leaders, we are strong, and we dont back down! We become demanding when we see something wrong, and when we suffer twice for the ocasion its makes the fight much more valuable. Its not what happened but the principle behind it and the underlying problem. You love movies you a passionate about them, so you obviously know they are viewed from multiple perspectives. instead of bashing a movie look at it from another perspective. for example: Just go with it, i though it was “dumbed it down, grossed it up, and draaaaaagggggged it out”. Instead you could say after that: but if you like that type of comedy and adam sandler movies than this is the movie for you! See how easy that was and all parties are happy

  21. HSP, you have to understand that the essence of immaturity is to insist on better treatment than you are handing out. I never suggested that my opinion was the only one; you seem to be saying that yours is, however. It is the job of a movie critic to express his or her own opinion, not to do a round-up of all the different points of view. If you were genuinely confident in your opinion, you wouldn’t put so much time and effort into objecting to someone else’s right to have a different one. Really, High School, is that slack and lazy Sandler movie worth all of this effort? Another hallmark of immaturity is lacking a sense of proportion and making insignificant disputes into big dramas. And another one is talking about how mature you are all the time and using words like “demand” and “suffer.” So is failing to show respect for the other side or neglecting to assume the good intentions of all concerned. So is refusing to accept responsibility for your actions — you’re a careless speller because you’re a fast typist? That’s just another way of saying you don’t care. All of these things make it sound like a tantrum instead of an argument.
    I’m not insulting you by pointing out your bad spelling. Yet another indicator of immaturity is feeling insulted when no one is insulting you. I am just advising you that it is hard to make a persuasive argument if you cannot demonstrate that it is important enough to you to use proper spelling and grammar. Do you think anyone will ever give you a job if you write like that? If it is important enough for you to write, it is important enough for you to do a thoughtful job. Otherwise, you will be judged not just by me but by the thousands of people who read this site every week. You may think that it shouldn’t matter; I am telling you that it does.
    If in the course of human history the approach you were taking had ever been effective, I’d say go for it. See if you can find one grown-up anywhere who reads both your comments and mine and thinks I’m wrong. Whatever you want in the world, whether it is to make your point with me or a college application or something far more important, you need to know how to make an effective and credible argument. I know you are smart enough to do that. You give me a good one and I will write you a really impressive college or job recommendation.

  22. Neli, I agree with your reveiw. Especially “There is a disagreeable misogynistic and materialistic ugliness to the film. Macabee is a plastic surgeon just so there can be jokes about grotesque mishaps..” I have liked some of Sandlers movies but found this one to be shallow, mean, and demeaning to women. The whole time I watched the movie I was commneting on things that Sandler’s character said that were mean. He plays a jerk who gets the beautiful sweet women in the end- WTH? The movie made fun of people who have body flaws but yet we never see Sandler in a bathing suit. Most of the people he joked about were women(including the plastic surgery mishaps). Just more perpuating society’s beliefs that men are better than women and are not to be judged as harshly as us women when it comes to looks. Our society is shallow and mean and this movie is just another reflection of that. I just hate the message it sends young people. It’s okay to joke and have fun but this movie went too far. I felt like it was a waste of Sandler’s talents. Now “Fifty First Dates” was an awesome movie and had some substance to it.

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