Adam Sandler sure has fallen a long way since the glory days of “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” – and those days weren’t even that good. Fifteen years later, we are invited to just go wherever with the comic who has long since worn out the welcome mat with “Just Go With It,” a typical Sandler comedy that might have been fairly amusing if it had been made a decade ago. It’s a step above last summer’s “Grown Ups” but probably only because there is a strong female presence to whip him in line.
Taking a fairly unique premise, the movie follows Sandler’s Los Angeles plastic surgeon (cue some scary and derivative jokes involving lots of Joan Rivers-esque figures) Danny and his morally suspect way of picking up women without a hitch – pretending to be married. It works out great for him until he meets the incredibly well-endowed, good-natured, and much younger Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), and he has to start an elaborate lie to keep her. The ruse, which eventually requires index cards, grows to include his divorced assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) and her two annoyingly precocious children as well as his horndog brother (Nick Swardson).
All things considered, this could have been more than just mildly entertaining, which is what the end product settles for. There are a few chuckles, usually accompanied by a groan but thankfully not with eye-rolling. So by all means, if you want to see Adam Sandler re-enact the movies from his prime, “Just Go With It” should provide you with what you’re looking for. But you’re probably better off dusting off one of his older flicks so you can have the faintest hint of nostalgia of a time when these jokes and formulas weren’t stale. C /
Back in Random Factoid #302, I wrote about being recognized by name at the library, the source of many of the movies I watch. This was a source of great pride as I don’t think a movie theater employee will ever recognize me by name.
However, I did get a significant step closer to that at a promotional screening of “Just Go With It” last night. The security people, usually very faithfully rotating between a series of five or six men, knew who I was! They didn’t call me Marshall, but when they were talking to people a few rows ahead of me about turning their cell phone off, one of the guys looked at me and said, “I know you. I want to see you turn it off!”
February comes, and with it the Oscars to celebrate 2010 in cinema! Here are some movies I doubt we will be toasting this time in 2012.
“Sanctum” looks like a movie worth the price of 3D. No stars and a somewhat enticing plot could make for a great experience. Oh, and having James Cameron’s name in the trailer helps.
“The Roommate” could make a decent chunk of change since it has teen stars Aly Michalka, Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, and Cam Gigandet to its name. How good or thrilling it will be really can’t be deduced from the trailer – and maybe it’s not something I want to see heading off to college next year.
Thanks to a qualifying run, Halle Berry’s “Frankie & Alice” is eligible for 2010′s awards and has so far racked up a Golden Globe nomination. That’s been about it for the previous winner, and an Oscar nod doesn’t look likely. But if she does get it, there could be quite a few people flocking to this curious drama about a woman with multiple personality syndrome.
Speaking of Oscar nominations, Natalie Portman is almost certain to receive one for “Black Swan,” but her movies don’t stop there. In addition to “No Strings Attached” coming out in January, she has “The Other Woman,” a 2009 Toronto Film Festival hit, being released theatrically. (It’s also available on demand beginning in January.)
Also not likely to be hitting a theater near you: “Cold Weather,” a detective film that played 2010 SXSW, “Dressed,” a fashion documentary, and “Waiting for Forever,” a romance featuring Rachel Bilson.
Forget the birds in Arkansas falling. If you are looking for a sign of the apocalypse, look no further than “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” in pointless 3D (as if you needed any indication that Paramount is soaking the Bieber cow for all the money its worth). If it does well, you may find yourself with me wishing the apocalypse would come a little sooner.
“The Eagle” sure doesn’t look much better as it’s just wannabe “Gladiator” period action fading into white noise. Poor Channing Tatum managed to lose top billing to Jamie Bell in the trailer; maybe they chose only to advertise someone with acting skills. ”Gnomeo and Juliet” could be OK; at least we haven’t seen a million talking lawn gnome movies.
Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston sure didn’t have a good 2010; his “Grown Ups” and her “The Bounty Hunter” both charted on my 10 worst of the year. So I guess when two fading stars cross each other’s paths, nothing good can come of it? Their collaboration on “Just Go With It” seems pretty contrived. I’ll see it, of course, in the hopes of finding a laugh or two. Maybe Nicole Kidman can save this, just hopefully not at the expense of her Oscar campaign.
On the indie side of things, “Cedar Rapids” sure looks promising. A fish-out-of-water comedy involving Ed Helms’ small-town boy getting into trouble in the booming metropolis of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the movie seems like a perfect foil for Sandler’s comedy. With John C. Reilly, Sigourney Weaver, and Rob Corddry on board, I’m really looking forward to this.
Thankfully for “Just Go With It,” there will probably be a much worse comedy released in February, and it comes dressed in drag and a fat suit. ”Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son” is a sequel that no one wanted, and it quite frankly looks like something meant to go straight to DVD.
Meanwhile, “I Am Number Four” is so cryptic and based on such a strange premise that I have a hard time getting excited to see it. I’ll have to wait for audience and critical reactions before I can seriously consider shelling out my money for it. If it hits big, though, Alex Pettyfer could have a nice breakout 2011.
“Unknown,” a new Liam Neeson thriller, looks like something I’ve seen before. But at the same time, it looks thrilling and entertaining.
On the indie side of the coin, there’s “I Am” for all those who like Christian movies. The movie is about the true nature of God, something that could be quite powerful for many people of faith – as long as they can find a theater that will show the movie.
Or, who knows, “Hall Pass” could be the worst comedy of February! An Owen Wilson/Jason Sudeikis pairing seems inspired, but when they debate whether to pick up women at Applebee’s or Olive Garden, I’m worried that it’s going to be horrifically pathetic.
The enigma that is Nicolas Cage is back with “Drive Angry” as a dude who breaks out of hell. It’s stranger, though, than Julianne Moore’s venture back into horror with “Shelter,” a creepy sci-fi thriller with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers doing some weird stuff with his mouth.
There’s no trailer yet for “Of Gods and Men,” but it’s been a big fixture among critics groups as a pick for Best Foreign Language Film. I’d love to see some of it, but the clips are all in French.
So, that’s February! What are YOU looking forward to?!? As always, take the poll and comment!