Saturday, 14 April 2012

Just Go With It Commentary

Adam Sandler has three gears.  First, he's known for the over the top, non-sensical characters like Billy Madison and Little Nicky.  Second, he has actually done some very good serious work in Punch Drunk Love and Spanglish.  Finally, there's the middle road that he has taken with movies like Fifty First Dates, Grown Ups and this one, Just Go With It where he tries to appeal to the masses.  I actually think that Sandler is a decent actor.  The more serious his movies get, the better he is at it actually.  When he does the middle of the road stuff, you can see the verge of a solid performance but there's always that lingering potential (and usual emergence) of him to do something crazy and yell "SHUT UUUUP!!!"  So, when he does these roles, it loses a little for me.

Because it is a romantic comedy, I will review it as one.  Just Go With It has about half of the ingredients that the normal romantic comedy has.  It has the guy going after one girl but realizing he's in love with the "ugly" duckling who is only plain because she shops at the GAP.  It has the plucky little kids and it has the Jiminy Cricket character.  But it doesn't have the girl's friend who hates the guy or really even the grand gesture to finally win her.  In a way, that was pretty refreshing.  Stepping out of the formula is a risk that I think should be taken.

The problem is that the film is really flat.  Right from the start, there's no real character development.  They try to portray Sandler as this womanizing a-hole but never have him do anything that would make you think that of him.  In fact, they make him quite charming.  This is done with all the characters and you never really feel any consistent emotion towards any of them.  Without someone to root for or against, it makes for kind of a boring movie.

Then, there's the kids.  In an attempt to have a cute little girl fake an English accent so she would say unexpected things, they wound up making me want to punch myself in the face to make sure I wasn't in some horrible nightmare.  Every time she was on the screen I would cringe.  And the character of her brother wasn't much better.  His "everything sucks" attitude was never developed to where it should have been and became superfluous.  Having two kids instead of one as a foil for Sandler made both roles suffer.

So, I always base romantic comedy reviews on two criteria.  First, did it make me laugh?  A little.  There are a few funny spots but most of the jokes are flat and there's too much inconsistency with real life (a doctor - even a plastic surgeon - cannot just go around pointing out who he's done work on to complete strangers).  Second, do I feel good for having watched it?  No.  I didn't feel bad or regret it.  But I also didn't get that feel good emotion that a good romantic comedy should bring.  Ultimately, it's really just milquetoast.

Don't bother seeing it.

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