You can count the decent films that Sandler has done on one hand (and you can count Aniston's on one finger), so Just Go With It is the kind of movie that hardened critics sit down to watch just knowing that they'll walk out afterwards hating it, their poison pens ready to rip it to shreds. But to my great surprise ... I didn't hate it.
Yes, it's a standard formulaic rom-com; you know from the start exactly how it will end – Sandler and Aniston finally realising what the audience has known all along, that they're madly in love and just meant for each other; that they'll walk off into the sunset, hand-in-hand, to live happily ever after. And, of course, they do. But the trip along the way is entertaining and actually quite funny in places. Sandler plays Danny, a single LA plastic surgeon who wears a wedding ring to help him pick up women. But when he meets the woman of his dreams – an ultra-hot schoolteacher who's half his age (Decker) – Danny has to enlist the help of his divorced assistant Katherine (Aniston) and her two kids to play the part of his soon-to-be-ex family. As lie builds upon lie, the happy little group ends up travelling to Hawaii for a "get to know you" holida, where hilarity ensues.
Well, not so much "hilarity" as "quite a few chuckles". Just Go With It is a remake of the terrific 1969 film Cactus Flower, which starred Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn. And that film was itself based on a French play, Fleur de cactus. So the source material has a pretty good pedigree, and Sandler and co manage not to screw it up royally. Sandler fans – particularly of his earlier works such as Happy Gilmore, Happy Madison and The Waterboy – will find much to enjoy here. Ditto Aniston fans, although as always she's cruising along just playing a variation on Rachel from Friends. Kidman, as an old college rival of Aniston's, proves once again that she's morre adept at drama than comedy (see Rabbit Hole, for example). And newcomer Decker, who rose to fame as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, show's that she's more than just a pretty face and smoking hot body (and keep an eye out for the waterfall scene, in which Aniston is pretty smoking hot herself).
It's a decent, mildly entertaining farce – whatchable and amusing, but pretty forgettable afterwards. Still, it's a not a bad choice for a date movie, and the perfect choice for Valentine's Day, if you're an observer of that Hallmark holiday.