Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 7
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

WOULD YOU MIND DOING A SMALL FAVOR FOR ME?: Plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Maccabee (Adam Sandler, right) pours on the charm as he tries to convince his office assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife. Unfortunately, the doctor has fallen in love with Palmer (Brooklyn Decker, not shown) and now needs to convince her that he is in the process of divorcing his non existent wife.

Just Go With It: Sandler and Aniston Co-Star in Shallow Formulaic Sitcom

Kam Williams

The plot premise of the “Big Lie” is a shopworn formula that has been recycled by countless television sitcoms starting with I Love Lucy. The theme typically involves the protagonist who ends up ensnared in a web of lies after telling a little fib in a moment of weakness.

The initial deception is compounded by additional lies that are designed to prevent the truth from coming out. Unintended consequences ensue and the tension builds to a crescendo while the guilt ridden prevaricator agonizes over his/her predicament until finally deciding to clear his/her conscience by ’fessing up. You don’t often see this plot employed in movies simply because it generally is too difficult to hold an audience’s interest for the duration of a full length film.

However, Just Go With It, a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Brooklyn Decker unsuccessfully tries to use this plotline. The picture was directed by longtime Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan, the brains behind such asinine productions as Grown-Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy.

The movie unfolds in Beverly Hills where celebrated plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Maccabee (Sandler), is intent on remaining single. And to make sure none of his relationships ever get serious, the confirmed bachelor falsely informs every woman he dates that he’s married in order to avoid ensuing romantic entanglements.

This has worked well until the day he falls head-over-heels in love with Palmer (Decker), a beautiful 23-year-old blonde he has met at a pool party. She spots his wedding ring after they make love, but instead of continuing the deception as usual, Danny says he’s in the midst of a divorce.

Palmer then asks to be introduced to his wife, so he has his office assistant, Katherine (Aniston), pretend to be his wife. But lunch together only escalates matters, since Palmer subsequently insists on meeting their children, which leads to a more elaborate ruse involving Katherine’s children (Griffin Gluck and Bailee Madison). Eventually, the cockamamie plot has Palmer plus the masquerading faux family vacationing in Hawaii where Danny struggles to keep all his assorted lies straight.

If Just Go With It’s storyline sounds familiar, that’s because the script is esentially a replay of the plot of Cactus Flower, the hilarious farce for which Goldie Hawn won an Oscar in 1970. Unfortunately, the two films bear only a superficial resemblance to each other because the latter’s witty repartee has been replaced with the vulgar brand of humor that is typical of Sandler’s films. Brace yourself for a flurry of gags such as one character who gives a choking sheep the Heimlich maneuver.

Fair (1 star). Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, partial nudity, drug references, and pervasive crude humor. Running time: 110 minutes. Distributor: Columbia Pictures

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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