It’s easy to criticize Adam Sandler for making the sametrashy movies over and over again, but he’s made enough genuinely impressivemovies (Funny People springs to mind,and Bedtime Stories is stillawaiting the recognition it deserves) to earn him the right to revert back tohis bread-and-butter once in a while. Besides, the man’s just funny withouteven really trying. That’s pretty rare.
So the premise is pretty goofy, but it’s just a setup toallow Sandler to do what he does best. He plays a plastic surgeon named DannyMaccabee who suffers from emotional scarring left over from a bad divorce. Thedeath of a marriage is a traumatic event, but it furnished Danny with thebrilliant idea of sporting a fake wedding ring and picking up women byconvincing them that they’re the only way he can escape the vicious clutches ofan abusive, unfaithful wife.
Hatching this or that sob story in order to pick up chicksis nothing original or interesting, but Sandler’s comedy takes flight when hislatest mark, a crazy hot blonde named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) discovers hisfake ring. This is where the movie reflects one curious little characteristicof real life – how one tiny little lie has an unsettling tendency to turn intoa whole lot of progressively growing lies.
Jennifer Aniston plays Katherine, Danny’s assistant, whodoesn’t know about this little factoid, and so agrees to pose as his abusive,cheating wife in order to help Danny win the heart of the woman he thinks heloves.
All kinds of comic mayhem ensues as Danny’s ruse becomesmore and more complicated and convoluted, and the ratio of hilarity tostupidity will depend almost entirely on your opinion of Adam Sandler goinginto the movie. The overall premise is undeniably shallow and has been done todeath in countless movies and television shows going back decades, but Sandlerbrings us an entertaining and fun update on an old idea, and that’s all Ireally ask for at the movies, you know? I don’t need an Academy Award winnerevery time I go to the theater, I just want to be entertained, and this is amovie that puts entertainment above all else.
Nicole Kidman shows up as Katherine’s old college nemesisand her husband is played by none other than Dave Matthews himself. Some cameosare so welcome that they bump the movie up a notch or two all by themselves,and this is definitely one of them. Nicole Kidman is cool, but Dave Matthews isone of the most talented people alive right now and should really be in moremovies.
I will say that the movie had a few too many toilet humorgags for my taste, however. I have come to believe that anything resembling someone defecating into a sleeping man’shand, for example, and just about all feces-related jokes, should be tossed inthe garbage and shipped to Seltzer and Friedberg, like usual. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to a lot of excessive and gratuitous content in the movies, but I don't know. Crap jokes are just kind of crappy, you know? They're the last resort of a writer without any good ideas, and they've never looked like anything else.
But despite alittle too much 4th grade comedy, the impressive cast turned in goodenough performances and had enough chemistry on screen to keep the surprisinglylong movie entertaining throughout. It's exactly what we've come to expect from the entire Happy Madison team, and I don't recall every being very much let down by their movies. They're consistently childish, sophomoric, and hilariously fun.
It’s an update on the 40-year-old movie Cactus Flower, starring Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau, and IngridBergman is essentially the same roles, but has little in common with Sandler’smovie other than the basic story. It gets a little too low-brow a little toooften, but it’s a great way to unwind and it delivers exactly what you know itwill. And sometimes it’s good to know that you can still go to the movies andget what you pay for.
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