Just Go With It

Columbia Pictures

Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, partial nudity, drug references and pervasive crude humor.

Sandler and Aniston Co-Star in Shallow, Derivative Sitcom

“The Big Lie” is a shopworn formula, which has been recycled by countless television sitcoms since serving as the premise for almost every episode of I Love Lucy. The age-old theme typically revolves around a morally compromised protagonist who ends up ensnared in an ever-expanding web of deception after telling a little fib in a moment of weakness.

For the initial fraud is invariably compounded by additional lies needed to prevent the truth from coming out. Unanticipated complications ensue and the tension builds to a crescendo while the guilt-ridden prevaricator agonizes over his predicament until finally deciding to clear his conscience by ‘fessing up. You don’t see “The Big Lie” employed often as a theme in movies simply because it generally proves to be too preposterous a cinematic device to hold an audience’s interest for the duration of a full-length feature.

However, just such a scheme provides the fulcrum for Just Go With It, a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and last year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, Brooklyn Decker. The picture was directed by longtime Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan, the brains behind such asinine offerings as Grown-Ups, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy.

This tale unfolds in Beverly Hills where celebrated, plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Maccabee (Sandler), is quite intent on remaining single. And to make sure none of his relationships ever gets serious, the confirmed bachelor falsely informs every woman he dates that he’s married once he’s slept with and is finished with her.

That exploitative tactic serves its purpose until the day he falls head-over-heels for Palmer (Decker), a curvaceous, 23-year-old blonde he picks up at a pool party. She spots his wedding ring after they make love, but instead of continuing the canard as usual, Danny says he’s in the midst of a divorce.

Palmer then asks to be introduced to his wife, so he has his office assistant, Katherine (Aniston), pretend to be his soon-to-be ex. But lunch together only escalates matters, since Palmer subsequently insists on meeting their kids, too, which leads to a more elaborate ruse involving Katherine’s children (Griffin Gluck and Bailee Madison). Eventually, the cockamamie plot has Palmer plus the masquerading menagerie vacationing on Hawaii where Danny goes to greater and greater lengths to keep all his assorted lies straight.

If Just Go With It’s storyline sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because the script is a mirthless overhaul of Cactus Flower, the hilarious farce for which Goldie Hawn won her only Oscar back in 1970. Unfortunately, the two films bear only a superficial resemblance to each other, given that the latter’s witty repartee has been supplanted here by the vulgar brand of humor demanded by diehard Sandler fans. En route to the pat redemptive resolution, better brace yourself for a flurry of bodily function gags ranging from an adolescent pooping into a sleeping man’s hand to a German guy giving a gagging sheep the Heimlich maneuver.

Just run from it!

Fair (1 star).

Running time: 110 Minutes.

Orgasm, Inc

First Run Features

Unrated

Scathing Exposé Uncovers Pharmaceutical Industry Plot to Exploit Female Pleasure

Is Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) an actual illness diagnosed by doctors or a phony ailment cooked up by lobbyists looking to cash in on a non-existing condition? It’s definitely the latter, according to Orgasm, Inc., as scathing an indictment of the pharmaceutical industry as you are likely ever to find on film.

This shocking exposé was directed by Elizabeth Canner, who devoted nine years to chronicling the drug companies’ effort to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first to recognize FSD as a medical disorder, and then to approve a class of prescription drugs as female versions of Viagra. With the help of physicians placed on the pharma business payroll, some of whom were reportedly paid as much as $75,000 per day (that’s right, per day), the FDA soon certified the newly-discovered illness as an affliction marked by a woman’s “lack of desire, lack of pleasure and/or painful intercourse.”

That governmental go-ahead triggered a race among biotechs, which immediately plunged headlong into a competition to be the first to bring a billion-dollar cure for the supposed malady to market. However, as this damning documentary alleges, it appears that what we have “is a case of corporate-sponsored creation of disease.” For, skeptical experts, such as Harvard Med School Professor Susan Bennett, point out there have been “no new medical discoveries regarding women’s sexual problems.” Might this merely be “the medical industry’s attempt to change our understanding of health, illness, desire and that ultimate moment, orgasm?”

This damning documentary highlights a larger issue, namely, “how the pharmaceutical industry, through a whole range of very sophisticated PR and marketing strategies, is changing how we think about our bodies, our health, and our diseases.” After all, ever since drug advertising was deregulated during the Reagan Era, the public has been bombarded with commercials for an array of bizarre new afflictions ranging from Restless Leg Syndrome to Male Menopause.

An eye-opening, cautionary tale unveiling a diabolical corporate conspiracy to turn healthy people into patients by medicalizing everyday aspects of the human condition.

Excellent (4 stars).

Running time: 97 Minutes.

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening February 18, 2011

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (PG-13 for sexual humor and brief violence). Martin Lawrence returns for a third go-round as a cross-dressing, undercover FBI Agent at an all-girls’ school where his 17-year-old stepson (Brandon T. Jackson) witnessed a murder. Ensemble cast includes Dr. Ken Jeong, Sherri Shepherd, Faizon Love, Jessica Lucas, Michelle Ang and Portia Doubleday.

The Chaperone (PG-13 for profanity, violence and crude humor). Rowdy road comedy about a reformed bank robber (Paul Levesque) who agrees to serve as a chaperone on his 13-year-old daughter’s (Ariel Winter) school bus trip to New Orleans only to find himself on the run from members of his former gang. With Kevin Corrigan, Annabeth Gish and Ashley Taylor.

I Am Number Four (PG-13 for profanity, violence and intense action sequences). Sci-fi thriller about a teenage fugitive (Alex Pettyfer) from another planet who tries to hide from the ruthless alien assassins on his trail in an idyllic Ohio town where he falls in love with a local gal (Dianna Agron). With Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer and Jake Abel.

Unknown (PG-13 for violence, brief sexuality and intense action sequences). Psychological thriller about a doctor (Liam Neeson) who awakens from a coma after a car accident in Berlin to discover that a stranger (Aidan Quinn) has not only assumed his identity but has even managed to trick his wife (January Jones). With Frank Langella, Diane Kruger and Bruno Ganz. (In English, German and Arabic with subtitles.)

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Brotherhood (R for sexuality, violence and pervasive profanity). Reality check drama about a college freshman (Trevor Morgan) pressured to participate in a cover-up, after a fellow fraternity pledge (Lou Taylor Pucci) is shot during a convenience store robbery which was supposed to be the final phase of their initiation. With Arlen Escarpeta, Jon Foster and Jennifer Sipes.

Even The Rain (Unrated). Bolivian drama about a couple of filmmakers (Luis Tosar and Gael Garcia Bernal) in the midst of shooting a controversial biopic about Christopher Columbus in Cochabamba when the locals rebel against plans to privatize the city’s water supply. With Raul Arevalo, Karra Elejalde and Pau Colera. (In Spanish with subtitles.)

Immigration Tango (R for profanity and sexuality). Green Card comedy about a Russian transfer student (Elika Portnoy) with a Colombian fiancé (Carlos Leon) forced to keep up appearances after swapping marriage partners with a Miami couple (McCaleb Burnett and Ashley Wolfe) in order to avoid deportation.

The Last Lions (PG for violent images). Endangered species documentary, shot for National Geographic by conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert, chronicling the decline of Africa’s lion population over the past 50 years from a half-million to a mere 20,000. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.

Loveless (Unrated). Wry romantic comedy, set in NYC, revolving around an aspiring film director (Andrew von Urtz) who seduces women by promising them roles in his fledgling movie projects. With Cindy Chastain, Genevieve Hudson-Price and Scott Cohen.

Now & Later (Unrated). Cross-cultural romance drama, set in L.A., about a suicidal, disgraced banker (James Wortham) embroiled in a tempestuous affair with the compassionate illegal immigrant (Shari Solanis) who offered him shelter. Cast includes Luis Fernandez-Gil, Adrian Quinonez and Marcellina Walker.

Putty Hill (Unrated). Baltimore mumblecore, unfolding at a karaoke bar where friends and relatives of a young man who died of a drug overdose gather to eulogize him while conducting a post mortem about where he went wrong. With Sky Ferreira, Cody Ray and Zoe Vance.

Vanishing On 7th Street (R for profanity). Suspense thriller set in a Detroit bar where the only four survivors (Thandie Newton, Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo and Jacob Latimore) of a citywide blackout band together to defeat the shadowy menace which has left the decimated population on the brink of extinction.

We Are What We Are (Unrated). Mexican horror flick about a cannibalistic clan’s struggle to continue their man-eating rituals in the wake of the sudden passing of the family patriarch (Humberto Yanez). Cast includes Adrian Aguirre, Miriam Balderas, Carmen Beato and Alan Chavez. (In Spanish with subtitles)

Zero Bridge (Unrated). Redemption drama, set in Kashmir, about a college-educated American woman (Taniya Khan) who unknowingly befriends the 17-year-old pickpocket (Mohamad Imran Tapa) who pilfered her purse and passport. With Ali Mohammad Dar, Fahad Banday and Bilal Bhat. (In Urdu and English with subtitles)

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