Just Go With It (US - BD)
Jonathan can't take the titular advice when it comes to Sandler's latest...
Danny (Adam Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon who has been hurt by his former fiancée. Newly single, he finds that using a wedding ring is ironically a great way to pick up women without having to make any commitments. One night he meets a sexy younger woman named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and wins her over. After finding the wedding ring that he uses to pick up women, she is angered and suspects that he is married. In order to stay with her, he enlists his friend and co-worker Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to be his fake wife, with whom he is getting a divorce. As the lie grows bigger and more complicated, Katherine's children become a part of the ruse and the whole gang takes a trip to Hawaii.
I grew up loving Adam Sandler's comedies. If you ran into me as a young teenager, you would probably find me and my friends quoting Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore to the point of absurdity. I still find myself doing it from time to time. These days I strongly admire his performances in dramatic roles, but I don't think much of his comedic work. It is difficult to tell if I've just outgrown his humour, or if the quality of his films has really gone downhill. Regardless, I still find that many of them are a breeze to watch, and they are very successful at the box office. You Don't Mess with the Zohan is probably the only recent comedy of his that I deeply despised. This is his seventh film with director Dennis Dugan, and it’s beginning to feel like less effort is put into each one. I found Just Go With It to be a painless viewing, but if you've found yourself disappointed and unamused by Adam Sandler's recent comedies, this one won't be a game changer.
If there is one thing this movie has going for it, it’s the cast. As the two leads, Sandler and Aniston are endearing. They've both been working in comedy for so long that it seems effortless. According to one of the audio commentaries, they have been pals since before Aniston was on Friends, and it shows in their onscreen chemistry. Watching them make jabs at each other or joke about a patient is mildly amusing. Together they work well, but when they aren't sharing a scene it often feels like Sandler is tired and phoning this one in. Brooklyn Decker, in her first acting job, is mostly just there for eye candy. She holds her own just fine, but the writers don't give her character much material to work with. Nick Swardson, who I usually find pretty funny, is just way too over-the-top here for my taste. The children in the film (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) are hilarious and steal most of the scenes they are in. They definitely got the biggest laugh count out of me. Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews play a couple in the film that they run into on vacation. I don't think Kidman is cut out for comedy, but it’s kind of fun to watch her play an unusual role. Sandler's usual troupe of comedy friends (with the exception of Rob Schneider) make some small appearances but bring nothing funny or memorable to the screen.
The major problem with Just Go With It is that none of the humour feels inspired or original. Watching characters try to talk their way out of careless lies with unbelievable excuses is never very amusing, and this movie has a lot of it. The writers are under the impression that exaggerated accents, flamboyant characters, and ugly plastic surgery (sometimes with creepy CGI effects) are funny. I understand the appeal of low-brow humour, but these attempts just feel lazy and tired. Some of Sandler's trademark wacky voices still brought a smirk to my face though. The story is very predictable, but that shouldn't surprise anybody. The usual rom-com contrivances that push characters into embarrassing situations are as present as ever. When things actually get a little morally complicated towards the end, the film completely sidesteps the denouement (and logic) to keep the story light.
This is an incredible 1080p (h264/AVC) transfer from Sony. At first glance, I thought Just Go With It was filmed on the RED digital camera. It has that same clean look with incredibly deep black levels. My assumption was wrong though, and it turns out that this was just filmed on a very clean 35 mm film stock. If you look closely you can see a very fine grain. Detail is exceptionally sharp and there is great depth to the image. Like most comedies, the colour palette is bright and has a warm push to it. The tropical colours that come with the Hawaiin location and colourful outfits are especially vibrant and saturated, practically leaping off the screen at times. I looked closely for banding, blocking, and other common compression artefacts but found none. This spotless video transfer is one of the best I've seen this year.
Sony matches their flawless video presentation with an impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) track. Overall sound quality is very high. Voices are clear, crisp, and are appropriately given directional attention based on the characters location on the screen. In one scene, Nick Swardson falls from a rock ledge, landing in the water below flat on his back. The sound is so sharp and distinct that you can almost feel the stinging pain of the impact when he hits. Even though I hated the soundtrack (how many aggressively bad remixes of The Police's music can you fit in one movie!?), I can't deny that the music has a rich layered sound to it. This isn't an action film with the kind of sound mix designed to knock your socks off, but for a comedy that mostly consists of people talking, this track fulfils its purpose and then some.
Sony packs this release with lots of special features, but quantity definitely does not equal quality in this case. There's a movie-IQ feature, which is an online database that can be accessed during the movie for information. Aside from some trailers and a hotel promo, we have two audio commentary tracks, a gag reel, some deleted scenes, and nine featurettes that feel like they could have been weaved into one behind-the-scenes feature. They could have at least put a "Play All" button on there. English and Spanish subtitle tracks are available for all special features.
Commentary with Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson, and the filmmakers: This isn't a particularly informative commentary track, but it is fun to listen to Sandler, Swardson, and the mostly unnamed additional filmmakers tell stories about being on set. They also share some amusing anecdotes about the cast members. It's obvious that these guys have a lot of fun working together. It’s not outright hysterical, but I laughed more at this commentary track than at anything in the movie. Fans of the film should be satisfied with it.
Commentary with Dennis Dugan: This commentary is much more dry and broken up. Dugan speaks more about the shooting process, filming locations, and working with the actors. For those interested in the process of creating the film, this track will serve you much better than the cast's audio commentary. The commentary seems oddly out of sync at times. Sometimes he reacts to things happening on screen a bit late, which was distracting. He makes a few good dry jokes about the cast members.
Laughter is Contagious (4:39, HD): This is a gag reel. I didn't find the laughter very contagious, but maybe you will.
Deleted Scenes (16:57, HD): These are mostly extended sequences. There is some additional footage from the prologue and more footage of Kevin Nealon.
Adon: Living Plastic (2:30, HD): Kevin Nealon goes around in his plastic surgery makeup messing with real people. Pretty funny.
Along Came a Prop Guy (2:53, HD): Some prop guys try to prank cast members with a toy spider.
Decker's Got Gas (2:19, HD): Brooklyn Decker plays around with a fart noise app on her phone, and attempts to use it to prank Adam Sandler in a bed scene.
Dolph: Not the One From Rocky IV (6:11, HD): A behind-the-scenes featurette on Nick Swardson's character, Dolph.
Kevin Nealon: The Plastic Man (5:31, HD): An inside look at Kevin Nealon's character and the makeup effects that went into his look.
What's a Dugan (5:27, HD): A featurette dedicated to director Dennis Dugan, with some interview footage and clips of him messing around on set.
Look Who Else is in the Movie (2:40 ,HD): A look at some of the other actors who make appearances in the film, such as Rachel Dracht, Heidi Montag, Dan Patrick,
Sneaky Kiki & Bart the Water Fart (1:31, HD): This one is devoted to the funny kids in the movie.
The Perfect Couple: Jen and Adam (5:51, HD): The cast shares their thoughts on Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, as well as their chemistry in the movie.
The Not So Perfect Couple (3:52, HD): A look at Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthew's characters.
Decker's First Role (4:20, HD): A featurette about Brooklyn Decker in her first role. The cast shares some thoughts on her, and she tells some stories about being on set.
Shooting Hawaii (5:35, HD): A look at the shooting locations in the film.
Just Go With It failed to impress me beyond the chemistry of its cast members, but fans of Sandler's recent comedies should find enough here to warrant a rental. For those that have already seen the film and enjoyed it, this is a terrific Blu-ray disc from Sony with flawless picture and audio. The extra features, including a strong commentary track with the cast and crew, should satisfy fans.
Review by Jonathan Hogberg
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13
Release Date: 7th June 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 English-Audio Description Track
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Cast and Crew Commentary, Director's Commentary, Extended and Deleted Scenes, 9 Featurettes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Dennis Dugan
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker
Genre: Comedy and Romance
Length: 116 minutes
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