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Movie Review

Nothing brings people together like massive, soul-crushing lies.

Danny Maccabee is something of an expert in this area. He's been telling lies to get close to people most of his adult life. When he meets a woman he'd like to (ahem) get closer to, he flashes a wedding ring and tells them he's married. The catch: It's a horrible marriage filled (he says) with drug abuse … or spouse abuse … or pet abuse … or any other kind of abuse that strikes his fancy that evening. And the women—all too eager to ease Danny's pain and commit a mortal sin at the same time—fall for it most every time.

Then one evening Danny meets Palmer, a gorgeous 23-year-old schoolteacher he'd like to get to know for more than just one night. This means, naturally, that his go-to lie won't do the trick. But when Palmer finds the prop ring (which I suspect might be related to Sauron's in The Lord of the Rings) at the most inopportune moment, Danny finds himself in need of a good explanation. Or better yet, another lie.

He tells Palmer he's getting divorced. Great, Palmer says. I want to meet your soon-to-be ex. So Danny convinces his assistant, Katherine, to play his wife. So far, so good, right? Only Katherine lets it slip that she has children—which, naturally, must mean that they're Danny's children, too. So now Palmer wants to meet them.

Danny promptly bribes both kids to pretend to be his loving, devoted progeny.

But lies, much like the power of Sauron's ring, tend to grow and fester and cause untold mischief as one leads to another and then to another and, before Danny knows it, he's dropping about $100,000 (no joke) to take Palmer and Katherine and her two kids and a sheep salesman named Dolph (in reality Danny's brother Eddie) to Hawaii so they can swim with the dolphins and serve up a whole vacation of nothing but lies.

Mount Doom might actually have been a better travel choice.

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Positive Elements

The beauty of Just Go With It—if one can ever use the word beauty in relation to an Adam Sandler flick—is that it's about how cool telling the truth can be. Each kernel of truth that slips out brings our characters closer to, if not redemption, at least a happyish ending. For example: When Michael, one of Katherine's children, blurts our that his absentee father doesn't want to spend time with him, Palmer assumes he's talking about Danny—Michael's pretend father. So Danny makes a concerted effort to spend lots of time with Michael and eventually teaches him how to swim. Another example: When fictional couple Katherine and Danny are forced to look into each other's eyes and say what they most "love" about each other, they find they actually have something to say.

[Spoiler Warning] I don't think it's much of a surprise that Katherine, played as she is by romcom queen Jennifer Aniston, is destined to end up with Adam Sandler's Danny. But to find their way to each other, they must strip away the lies and tell everyone—and themselves—some deep-seated truths. Also refreshing: Instead of taking the increasingly common No Strings Attached route (in which casual sex leads to lifelong love), Danny and Katherine set their fledgling relationship on the far firmer ground of friendship. And when they finally do take the plunge, Danny tells the audience that he's going to spend the rest of his life with her. And that's no lie.

Oh, Eddie also saves the life of a choking sheep.

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

If sexual entendres and jokes were melons, this film could keep a herd of hippopotami well fed for a month. One of Danny's early conquests compels him to place a hand on her (clothed) breast. He keeps it there the whole time they're leaving the bar. Danny's a plastic surgeon, so some of the gags (naturally) revolve around breast enlargement surgeries—and the differences between real and fake. For laughs, Danny and Katherine rub numbing cream on one patient's nipples (just out of the frame).

Danny also apparently performed penile enlargement surgery on Eddie—leading to another bevy of jokes. Eddie, by the way, goes out of his way to rub up against the pretty owner of the sheep he saves.

Katherine, Palmer and others wear teeny tiny bikinis, low-cut tops, skimpy hula costumes and, in Katherine's case, a tight, perforated-and-therefore-see-through dress. Palmer drops her towel in front of Danny. (The camera is behind her and focused above her waist.) Several couples kiss, and Palmer and Danny apparently have sex on the beach. (We see them afterwards, covered in blankets.)

A child points to Danny and calls him a fornicator—which, frankly, is one of the few truths we hear in the film. Maggie, Katherine's elementary-age daughter, calls Palmer a "whore" and makes a few sexual references. Distracted by Palmer's breasts, a teen boy falls down the stairs. A man, later revealed to be gay, picks up a coconut with his backside, and we're told he picks up soap the same way. Eddie leers at an exposed portion of Palmer's rear, later saying he was just "looking at the canyon." Eddie makes tawdry gestures, and pretty much everyone makes crude references to various bits of the human body. Jokes reference erectile dysfunction, promiscuity, pedophilia and sex dolls—often within earshot of children.

We learn that Danny's wedding ring ruse is the product of a painfully broken engagement, when he learned that his fiancée had cheated on him (and would probably cheat on him again) just before the two of them were about to be married.

Violent Content

Danny slaps Eddie. Katherine grabs Eddie's tongue and pulls him away for a private conversation. She also slaps his sunburn. Danny stitches up a boy with a painful-looking gash on his shin. We don't see the operation, but we do see Danny slap the boy to distract him from the numbing shot he's giving the lad.

Danny dumps Maggie in a pool of mud. Later he drops her into a swimming pool. He pushes Katherine when she's teetering on some uncomfortably high heels. Several people get hit in the groin.

Crude or Profane Language

Three s-words. Milder profanities include "a‑‑," "h‑‑‑" and "bloody." Many of these words are spoken by Katherine's two young kids. God's name is misused more than 30 times.

Additionally, we learn that Katherine's has taught her kids to use the name of her main rival, Devlin, in reference to defecation. Danny picks up on the term, and we hear it throughout the film as a euphemism for the s-word.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There's beer, wine, martinis and drinks with umbrellas in them. Devlin and Katherine appear to be a bit drunk when they decide to compete against each other in a hula contest. Danny, fleshing out a reason why he and Katherine are "divorcing," says that Katherine abuses scads of drugs—suggesting at one point that Maggie's also used them. Michael pretends to smoke a straw.

Other Negative Elements

Just Go With It is flush with potty humor, and rarely is a scene allowed to go by without some crude reference. Perhaps the grossest comes when Eddie, sleeping in a bathtub, rolls over and his hand lands in the toilet—right before a sleepy Michael comes in, sits on the toilet and does his business on Eddie. (We see Eddie wipe off his hand with a towel.) Katherine claims that Danny has irritable bowel syndrome, and she goes into great detail as to how it spoiled their wedding night.

Characters make fun of various physical deformities—sometimes spitefully.

Katherine says that splitting from her (real) husband was the right thing to do, and Danny insults her ex in front of her children. Danny essentially bribes Maggie and Michael to pretend to be his kids by promising Maggie $300 and acting lessons, and giving Michael a PlayStation 3 and five games. Later, Michael manipulates Danny into taking everyone to Hawaii. A boy flings a soda at a pregnant woman, presumably his mother.

Conclusion

"You've really, really not thought through this thing," Katherine tells Danny just as he begins to sail through this sea strewn with lies. And, really, the same could be said for the film's makers. Despite its half-nod to a moral, and despite Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler's (dare I say it) engaging chemistry, this cinematic excursion starts out as a foul, putrid, unfunny mess … and never gets better.

Just go with it, the movie tells us. But that, just like almost everything else it says, is terrible advice. Better to just go the other direction. Maybe even head over to Mount Doom.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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