Just Go With It is a mean, angry film, odd since it’s about romance, love, and kids. Maybe it’s those opening moments, a Jewish wedding where everyone is given hideous and obvious prosthetic noses while told to act goofy. Then, someone else is there to make of them, and the cycle repeats.
There’s endless series of these gags, some of them of the character’s own doing, like Kevin Nealon’s overdone botox. Others, with popped implants and misaligned eyebrows, just endlessly assault the viewer with cruel, heartless gags.
It’s odd too, because generally, director Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler pairing up means a great time, unless of course we’re talking about Grown Ups. And we’re not. Mercifully not. They’re the duo behind Happy Gilmore, making this mess even more of a mystery.
Just Go With It never finds that groove. It tries everything, from cute kids to sexy swimsuit models to Nick Swardson, who well, he does something. Surely the film was green lit purely based on premise and not much else, letting this core comedic band of actors do their thing. Danny (Sandler) is a plastic surgeon who tricks women into believing his wife beats him, has died, or some other tactical lie in order to pick them up.
Cue “the one” entering his life, even though “the real one” has actually been working with him for years. You can probably see where this is headed already. The first “the one” is a smokin’ teacher played by swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, the “real one” is played by Jennifer Aniston. Danny, caught in his lies, ends up having to pull Aniston into the mix as his soon-to-be ex, and then come the kids, the contrivances, and Nicole Kidman’s painful, irritating overacting. It’s all just a mess, much like the character’s predicament.
Lest we forget one of those other recent Dugan hallmarks, utterly meaningless sequences like a hula dance between Aniston and Kidman that serves no purpose other than to shove another contrivance into the script. Oh, and Swardson’s fake backstory is that he sells sheep, so what happens in the middle of Hawaii when he just happens to be sitting there? Yeah, a sheep-related incident he needs to solve. It’s sort of like a sitcom when someone is trying to play a doctor and is suddenly thrust into a surgical procedure, only that might have been funnier here. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Dugan goes digital for this production, the Sony CineAlta F35, resulting in a clean, generally crisp image carrying with it minor faults that eat away at its bronzed exterior. For the most part, the mid-range is a relative lost cause, capturing enough definition and texture in terms of clothing or the fantastic jungle environments, while leaving faces unnaturally smoothed over. It’s a distracting sudden shift in the overall image quality when a face carries zero texture of any kind.
In close, this one performs better, facial detail kicking in with regularity, some heavy make-up on Aniston breaking up the fun. It’s so heavy during a dinner sequence you can literally see it cracking around her lips, so there’s your detail. Oddly, it performs well where distance is concerned too, the aerials of the Hawaiian Islands stunning in their beauty, all of those palm trees rendered with care.
That brings us around to color, the only complaint here being those occasionally amped up flesh tones. Not even the Hawaii sun could bronze someone like that, and it can get rough even before the trip into the ocean is made. The rest is certainly glossy and saturated, a deep richness running through the palette here to bring a real intensity to the images.
It’s aided by a vivid contrast, on occasion taking in a little too much sun, but otherwise nicely controlled. Black levels are much the same, if on the other spectrum. They lighten up for a few nighttime sequences, almost becoming extinct within those scenes, before regaining control of their own fate. Generally, they offer more than enough zip in the dark to prove satisfactory. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Just Go With It is flat out boring to listen too, and that’s not just the painful dialogue. Audio design here is simply dead before it can even get started. It’s an endless wait for something, anything to enter into the surrounds. The one moment where it succeeds, some generic jungle sounds at 56:33, is a complete shock to the system, or maybe a small notification that yes, everything is working properly.
Sure, there’s a mild surround bleed where it comes to music, and of course fidelity is sublime; it’s a modern Hollywood production. Listen to the kids restaurant where tons of the little ones are screaming, laughing, and at play. Nothing even exits the stereo channels let along adding some depth to the field. The grating hula performance later has an entire crowd sharing their applause, and none of it even tries to find the rears. It’s boring and center-focused except for the various music tracks. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Just Go With It’s Blu-ray showcases a massive pet peeve, and it’s not the dual commentaries (one with Sandler/Swardson/filmmakers, the second with Dugan alone) that are totally unnecessary for a movie like this, but the endless barrage of short snippet featurettes. There’s a dozen of them, a fart joke played on set given its own behind-the-scenes piece, because that’s totally not appropriate for the blooper reel, right? Oh, and the spider gag played by the prop guy? Give that it’s own section too.
There’s almost nothing here worth watching aside from that blooper reel, a short hidden camera bit where Kevin Nealon walks around the city in full make-up (Adon Living Plastic), and , actually, that’s it. You can check out the deleted scenes if you want, but the three to five minutes it takes to work through each of those featurettes isn’t worth anyone’s time. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]