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updated: 2/10/2011 12:34 PM

'Just Go With It' a crass mess

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  • Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) pretends to be the future ex-wife of Danny (Adam Sandler) the plastic surgeon in the rom-com "Just Go With It."

      Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) pretends to be the future ex-wife of Danny (Adam Sandler) the plastic surgeon in the rom-com "Just Go With It."

  • Danny (Adam Sandler) rents two kids (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) to be his children in the rom-com "Just Go With It."

      Danny (Adam Sandler) rents two kids (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) to be his children in the rom-com "Just Go With It."

 
 

To understand how brain-numbing and manipulative this insufferably crass and icky rom-com is, some cinematic genealogy would be in order.

"Just Go With It" is a remake of the Oscar-winning 1969 comedy "Cactus Flower," written by Billy Wilder's frequent collaborator I.A.L. Diamond, who also penned a few notable features such as "Some Like It Hot," "The Front Page" and "The Apartment."

Diamond based his script on the stage play "Cactus Flower" adapted by Abe Burrows, who also wrote a few Broadway shows you might have heard of: "Guys and Dolls," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Can-Can."

When frequent Adam Sandler collaborator and hack director Dennis Dugan got his hands on this project, "Just Go With It" suddenly went without an unfunny foul-matter detector or a convincing emotional arc designed to counteract the shameful actions of its irritating characters.

"Just Go With It" tells the story of a wealthy plastic surgeon named Danny (Sandler) who lies to women to get them in bed. That plot's been done a few times before, of course.

"I discovered the power of the wedding ring!" Danny blurts in his annoying, dumbed-down voice-over narration that explains how he pretends to be unhappily married so hot women will offer him pity sex.

But a none-too-bright, 23-year-old super hottie named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) thinks Danny is single. So when she finds the dummy wedding ring in Danny's pocket, the surgeon lies and tells her he's married, but getting a divorce.

Palmer insists on meeting his wife, so Danny convinces his mousy office assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his future ex.

Then, because Palmer loves children, he has to bribe single mom Katherine's two kids Maggie and Michael (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) to pretend to be his offspring.

Then, to cover all the bases, Danny's best bud from high school Eddie (Nick Swardson) pretends to be Katherine's new flame.

"We'll need index cards to keep up with the lies!" Katherine says to Danny.

Once these plot elements fall into place, "Just Go With It" breaks apart with an endless succession of clichés (how many slow-motion shots of sexy women does one movie need?) and a constant stream of snickering, suggestive sex jokes mixed with little Michael accidentally defecating on Eddie's hand.

To quote Katherine: "Kill me now!"

Proving that the film gods giveth and taketh away, current Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman (up for her fine performance in "Rabbit Hole") pops in for a humbling experience playing Devlin, Katherine's snooty high school rival.

If Dugan's movie didn't already earn enough demerits for offending our collective intelligence and taste, it also includes scenes that ridicule old women, overweight women and gay men.

The final straw?

"Just Go With It" denigrates 10 great songs recorded by Sting and the Police.

But it left out "Message in a Bottle," the most pertinent one with the lyrics that perfectly capture our feelings: "Sending out an SOS."

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