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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Just Go With It

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and Brooklyn Decker star in "Just Go With It."
Take a sophisticated classic farce—set it in Hawaii—then trash the piece, and you have "Just Go With It" (Columbia).

In this very loose—and sloppy—remake of 1969's "Cactus Flower," director Dennis Dugan and screenwriters Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling supply Adam Sandler with the overload of potty humor on which nearly all of Sandler's films seem to depend, along with stale dialogue that quickly depletes audience sympathy for Sandler and the other stars.

What was originally a sweet adult romance involving an escalating series of funny complications and a modest message about being true to one's self thus becomes comatose almost from the start.

The latest version has been badly unmoored from the plot lines of the earlier film—which featured Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn—the Broadway staging that preceded it, and its French source play. In those, a philandering dentist tells his many girlfriends he's trapped in a bad marriage, a claim that not only earns him sympathy and physical affection, but also provides an easy escape hatch from commitment.

Once the playboy finally decides to settle down, however, he needs to produce a "wife" he can ostensibly divorce, an effort in which he enlists his spinster nurse, who, it turns out, is secretly in love with him.

Here, Sandler plays Danny, a plastic surgeon, with Jennifer Aniston as his assistant Katherine. No lovelorn old maid is she; instead, she's a sensible divorced mom raising precocious kids Maggie (Bailee Madison) and Michael (Griffin Gluck). The young woman Danny decides to marry is schoolteacher Palmer (Brooklyn Decker, most famous as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model).

Palmer, who remembers the pain of her parents' split, decides she wants to meet and befriend Danny's spouse, and is even more delighted to learn there are children involved. This launches a series of deceptions, including a "lover" for Katherine—a role into which Danny drags in his cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson)—and a "family" vacation in the Aloha State that gives Decker an excuse to don a bikini.

Within this misguided updating, the available outlets for comedy involve a long series of bathroom references, sight gags of botched plastic surgery, and the appearance of Katherine's old "frenemy" Devlin (Nicole Kidman), who gets caught in some lies of her own.

The original story may be redolent of snap-brim fedoras, Vitalis and cigarettes, but at least it had a warm heart this version distinctly lacks.

The film contains an implied premarital situation, considerable scatological humor, sexual banter and fleeting crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.




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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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