Viewers encouraged to ‘go with’ Sandler’s latest comedyJuly 4, 2011
By G. Michael Dobbs
A comedy that I didn’t think would be funny – that did make me laugh none the less and a rousing science fiction adventure are in this edition of the DVD review column.
Just Go With It
I’m not a big fan of Adam Sandler or farces or the source material of this new romantic comedy, but I did find myself actually enjoying the comic’s new film, “Just Go With It.”
This new film directed by Sandler’s regular collaborator Dennis Duggan, has good pacing, some great gags, casting surprises and a genuine heart about it.
Sandler plays Danny, a successful and basically nice plastic surgeon, whose bad brush with marriage has caused him to use a ruse with women: he claims he is in a bad marriage. The scheme to meet and bed women has worked well for 20 years but backfired when a young woman, Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker) he has met objects strongly to the idea that he is married.
Danny must now convince his girlfriend that he has a bad marriage and must find someone to act out that role. His long-time nurse in his practice, Katherine, played by Jennifer Aniston, reluctantly agrees to help him out. All goes smoothly until her children are accidentally mentioned and a new layer of lies must be installed.
The complications really pile up, though, on a trip to Hawaii where Danny, Katherine and her kids must all play their roles.
What makes this film so different than its source material, the 1970 comedy “Cactus Flower,” is that Danny is a decent guy and Palmer isn’t a ditz. In the original film, the Walter Matthau character was a nasty womanizer and Goldie Hawn’s character wasn’t too appealing either.
What really makes this work, though, is the chemistry between Sandler and Aniston. They actually seemed to be enjoying their roles together.
The film’s other surprise is two accomplished comic performances by Nicole Kidman and rocker Dave Matthews.
While no comic masterpiece, “Just Go With It,” is a light fun comedy, perfect for summer viewing.
Battle Los Angeles
I didn’t see the Tom Cruse remake of “The War of the Worlds” George Pal’s original take on the H. G. Wells book still works fine for me but this science fiction war film seems to be a great updating of the material, even if it isn’t an official remake.
Although an epic subject the world is invaded by alien war machines and soldiers director Jonathan Liebesman and writer Christopher Bertolini keep the focus on a small group of Marines in Los Angeles charged with a specific mission.
By keeping the story small, the audience can identify with the Marines and the group of civilians they are attempting to rescue. This approach works well and the science fiction parts of the story are made more realistic this way.
Liebesman brings the grittiness and horror of war to the film, which plays most of the time as a well-directed combat movie.
Aaron Eckhart leads an ensemble cast that includes Longmeadow native Bridget Moynahan as the war-hardened vet who is the sergeant in command of the Marine unit. Eckhart is an accomplished performer who seems at ease with both comic and dramatic parts.
Although this film may not present anything groundbreaking for either the war or science fiction genres, it is a piece of expertly assembled entertainment.