Whatever happened to Jennifer Aniston's career? Once upon a time, the California girl was the talk of the town: the most written about actress in the most written about show of the age. It was clearly only a matter of time before Aniston would translate that small screen appeal into Hollywood gold. Far from becoming a modern day Screwball comedienne or favourite girl-next-door, however, she instead found herself consigned to a series of ho-hum movie roles ('Derailed', 'Friends with Money', 'He's Just Not That Into You', 'The Bounty Hunter', etc) while the likes of Sandra, Reese and Cameron swept all the high profile roles before them.
On the rare occasion when Aniston did find a decent script ('The Good Girl'), not enough people actually lined up to see it. At the age of 42, the former Friend now finds herself at the stage in her career where she desperately needs another strong role to remind people of her talent. Sadly, 'Just Go With It' is not that role. Nobody overshadows Adam Sandler in his Denis Dugan movies ('Happy Gilmore', 'Big Daddy', 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry') and so it goes again here.
Sandler plays a plastic surgeon who, on being ditched at the altar in his youth, retains the wedding ring as a ploy to ensure that no relationship ever gets too serious. When he meets the impossibly young and beautiful Brooklyn Decker, he is compelled, for reasons too convoluted to explain, to pretend that his dowdy assistant (our gal Jen, believe it or not) is the 'wife' in question. Soon all parties are heading off on holiday where the charade is in serious danger of unravelling, especially when Jen's overbearing college chum, Nicole Kidman, hovers into view.
Older film fans will recognise many elements of this scenario as being not dissimilar to the award-winning 'Cactus Flower' (1969), but that film had Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn as its central triumvirate. This current trio is not nearly as effective. To be fair to Aniston, she does her thing well, but we’ve seen that thing many times before. She really needs some roles that will take her out of her comfort zone. Yes, there are the odd good verbal and sight gags from Sandler and yes, you have the added value of seeing Nicole Kidman cast against type, but overall, 'Just Go With It' belongs among that recent crop of 'comedies', including 'Couples Retreat' and 'Grown Ups', that offer much in terms of snappy trailers and strong casts, but are ultimately fairly lame fare that fail to deliver the goods.
Memo to Ms Aniston: you may have all the money (and the shampoo) in the world but if you want to get some strong, Hilary Swank-type roles, it's time your agent stepped up and started fighting, Ari Gold-like, for those decent scripts.