One big fat lie leads to another, Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn's Cactus Flower gets thrown into the mix, Dolph Lundgren's name is batted around like a shuttlecock, and Jennifer Aniston finds another opportunity to show off her buffed and burnished bod.
Directed by Dennis Dugan, who can be credited with (or blamed for) a slew of similarly sophomoric Sandler vehicles, the forgettably titled Just Go With It works off a flimsy screwball premise: Sandler's Danny Maccabee meets the blond, beautiful Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and thinks he's found The One - and he hasn't scammed her with the usual line about an abusive, pill-popping wife. Palmer feels a connection, too, but then she finds a wedding band in Danny's pocket and thinks she's been had.
In order to convince her otherwise, Danny, a successful plastic surgeon, recruits his longtime assistant - that would be Aniston - to act as his wife, or about-to-be-ex. When Palmer meets the outgoing Mrs. Maccabee and sees that Danny was being honest with her (ha!), all will be right with the world.
Toss in a pair of precocious Hollywood kids (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck, as Aniston's single-mom munchkins) and add a bunch of complications and contrivances, and there's enough going on to keep the seats filled for a couple of hours.
Sandler, shambling and smirky, delivers another of those one-take performances of his - likable and lazy, forever on the verge of cracking himself up. Aniston, taking her cues from her costar, doesn't expend much energy either, but there are glimmers of comic brio. Now and then, she makes a face that suggests she might actually be having some fun.
Just Go With It ** (out of four stars)
Directed by Dennis Dugan. With Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, and Nicole Kidman. Distributed by Sony Pictures.
Running time: 1 hour, 56 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes)
Playing at: area theaters
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/onmovies/