Some actors make a point of stretching out and testing their craft, taking on roles that might challenge both their own skills and an audience’s preconceptions. Nicole Kidman, who takes on a surprise bit part in the categorically fluffy (yet funny) Just Go with It, is one of those actors.
But it’s an entirely different story with the actors front and center in this entertaining whoopee cushion of a quasi-romcom yarn. We know what to expect—and generally get just that, and no more—from Adam Sandler, the bankable, loveable goofball who gets the girl, and Jennifer Aniston, still struggling to expand her range from the small screen to the large, and faring better than usual this time out. They are as much corporate commodities, abiding by the Holiday Inn mantra that no surprise is the best surprise, as they are artistically driven members of the acting community, and there’s no harm in that.
With this movie, a loose remake of the film and stage play Cactus Flower, the biggest surprise is the success of its humor agenda within its self-limited scope of ambition. Ultimately, the thin premise wears out to vapor, but the devilish fun is all about the bits, the punch lines, and the madcap setups, which, in this case, strike laugh-provoking pay dirt more often than we expect.
Sandler plays a playboy plastic surgeon with a midlife crisis and a great capacity for mendacity, all channeled into a desperate attempt to win a 23-year-old beauty (supermodel Brooklyn Decker, whose meager acting ability somehow works in her favor here), to the extent of enlisting office assistant (Aniston) and her children as a fake family. Cleverly, the location moves to Hawai’i for a series of comic scenarios involving masked identities and true love, bubbling up like so much movie lava.
Within the humble and half-baked parameters of the setting, suitable amounts of fun are had, right down to some quirky casting, including serious, shamanic rocker Dave Matthews as a giddy, farcical sham man, and Kidman, giving her cheeky all to this gig’s low-comedy mode. Art and Oscar bids can wait. This is just fluff, and they go with it well enough.