The case against Adam Sandler: “Just Go With It”

March 21, 2011

I hate Adam Sandler. I’ll just get that out of the way upfront. If he told me he was drowning, I would not lend a hand. If he was being dolphin-raped in the aquarium at Sea World, I would point and laugh. I really freaking hate Adam Sandler. However, unlike, say, my hatred for onions or Australia, my hatred of Sandler and his oeuvre is a defensible one, and not borne out of a Caesar-like arbitrariness. Sandler is not funny. He does not do funny things. He does not tell jokes or deliver punch lines. He acts like a manic asshole and his publicity machine instructs us to laugh along with him. This is not humor, this is brainwashing.

I remember when Sandler first started on Saturday Night Live, my cousin made me watch him sing his “Red Sweatshirt” song after assuring me that it was sheer genius. What I saw instead was the kind of thing a precocious junior high-schooler would come up with…about an article of clothing associated with that age. As the Sandler juggernaut plowed forward over the years, I continued not to get it. This guy wasn’t a master of sketch comedy, creating vivid characters like Mike Myers, and he wasn’t a stand-up with a portable persona like Eddie Murphy. The dude just got up there and made silly voices like an obnoxious pre-teen on the playground. And America ate it up. The moment that, for me, defines Sandler comes from an ad for Big Daddy, in which the kid Sandler’s watching starts bawling uncontrollably, and Sandler bellows, “Would somebody get the kid a Happy Meal, please?” Why is that in the ad, I wondered. It’s not a joke, per se. Nor is it a funny scenario. Why is that humorous?

It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but after seeing Sandler’s latest cinematic atrocity I think I have a better idea of what makes him tick, and why he’s embraced. Yes, I am saying that Just Go With It brought me to cinematic enlightenment.

So basically this movie is a vehicle for Sandler and Jennifer Aniston . He plays an immature horn-dog and she plays the no-nonsense woman who tames him. Bet you’ve never seen that movie before. In this iteration, Sandler plays some dude named… fuck it, he’s Adam Sandler in every movie. Here he plays a plastic surgeon who wears a wedding ring to bag hawt chicks. Because there’s nothing that Maxim-cover hotties like more than a guy with a wedding ring (except a guy with a shitload of money and/or a lot of blow, but I digress…)

So, one day Sandler sleeps with the girl of his dreams (Brooklyn Decker). They’re intense soulmates, because 1) she’s 23, 2) she’s hot, and 3) she slept with him.  I’m not passing judgment here—those are perfectly valid reasons to pursue someone. Problem is, when Sandler unspools the usual pack of lies (“yeah, I’m married, but she cheats on me…she hates our kids…she beats me…we’re getting a divorce,”) the hottie wants to meet this soon-to-be ex. Thinking quickly, Sandler enlists the aid of his single-mom assistant, played by Jennifer Aniston to play that role. Wackiness ensues.

Yeah, that’s the movie, because really, a Sandler movie is all about the premise, not the actual (ahem) jokes. But you wanna know the jokes? Okay, here they are: Aniston’s daughter speaks in a fake British accent. Aniston must pretend to be married to a Euro-weenie named (wait for it) Dolph Lundgren who is played by the Sandler character’s cousin. Aniston’s son accidentally shits on “Dolph Lundgren”’s hand. Sandler racks his nuts on a rope bridge. The name Devlin is used as a euphemism for shit, giving us one-liners like, “Aw Devlin!” “We’re in deep Devlin!” And so on. Lundgren tries to revive a sheep by giving it CPR and the Heimlich (okay, this bit is actually pretty funny…)

So, do you see how retarded this film is? Possibly the most idiotic element of the plot is the way it treats Aniston as a largely sexless creature before unveiling her as the true object of Sandler’s affections. Yes, it even has a scene in which Aniston gets some expensive clothes and a makeover, and then makes a slow-mo entrance, while every male in the room’s eyes bug out. Wow! Who would have thought Jennifer Aniston could be so gorgeous? Oh wait, anyone who’s been alive since 1994.

Amazingly, this movie even made me appreciate Aniston. I’m not her biggest fan, I gotta admit. I know I’m in the age-bracket that’s supposed to regard her as one of the most beautiful women on Earth, but even in her Rachel days she’s left me cold. Mainly, it’s the whole “girl-next-door” thing. The girl next door should only be desirable when you’re a teenager. Once you grow up, you should, instead, be attracted to the smart, successful woman, or the intelligent, artistic woman, or even the worldly, exotic woman. This is why you move away from home: to meet women who aren’t the girl next door.

Yet amid Sandler’s onslaught of jackassery, I found myself appreciating Aniston’s talent and maturity more and more. I never wanted to sleep with her character, but it would have been nice to have a grown up conversation with her.

And that brings us to the appeal of Sandler. Per usual, Sandler plays a bullying douchebag. But then, that’s been his whole career. He’s a suburban Long Island douchebag, whose humor stems entirely from the id of an obnoxious teenager. He can’t be bothered to develop comic timing or to observe the absurdities of daily life. No, he’s just going to spend his time being aloof and abrasive until the right hottie (that he’s entitled to) comes along. And that’s why he’s successful: he tells audiences that it’s perfectly all right not to be an adult, not to work too hard, not to be anything other than a selfish jackhole, because in the end you’ll still get to nail Jennifer Aniston or Winona Ryder or Drew Barrymore.

Yeah, Sandler has turned in some decent performances in movies like Punch Drunk Love and Funny People, but that’s only because he was dropped into well-written movies that were constructed around his one trick. Contrast that with, say, Steve Martin, who grew past his “wild and crazy guy” phase to make funny, well-observed movies like LA Stories. Martin’s comedy grew with his stages of life. Sandler is well into his 40s and still pretending he’s 13. Cultural critics say we have a crisis of masculinity in America. I say, here’s exhibit A.


  1. Dolph Lundgren is in this movie?! That’s awesome! Now, I am totally going to watch it. I wonder why they didn’t put him in any of the trailers. Idiots.

  2. It’s not the real Dolph. I was disappointed by that, too.

  3. Was it just someone named Dolph Lundgren?! That’s supposed to be funny or something? There’s no reason to see this movie now.

  4. this article was written by a pure retard who has no understanding of comedy, or the appeal of sandler’s movies… the appeal is in the jokes… that is all. the premise is not what makes a movie good.

    • Please consider using a different word other than “retard”

  5. Are you for real??? How dare you use the word “retarded”????? Please explain to me what you mean by “how retarded this film is”

  6. I mean the film is addled, touched, mentally-challenged, developmentally delayed. If it was a person it would have to wear a crash-helmet and ride the short bus.

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