I was invited to the world premiere of the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston flick Just Go With It (loosely based on Cactus Flower) last night, held at the Ziegfeld here in NYC. I'm not a big Sandler fan—I don't get why so many people howl at his every gesture, nor do I get Will Ferrell while we're at it—but I thought the previews had potential and hey, premieres are always interesting.
I showed up 20 minutes before showtime in the 20-degree weather only to discover my ticket wasn't there. But one of the will call PRs overheard and knew I was a part of a publicist's group so asked me if I was picking up one or two tickets. So...I went with it. "Two, I think...?"
(Some minor spoilers below)
I called José to let him know if he could zoom over there in time, he could join me. He was grocery shopping; I was picturing egg cartons in a pile on the floor, because he made it in like 10 minutes. While waiting, I listened to the flashes from the event photographers' cameras as the stars (including unlikely participant Nicole Kidman) made their way through the tented red-carpet area. I spotted statuesque Kidman as she finished her duties, then as we made our way inside I ran into Andy Samberg, whose flak was pleasantly but firmly enforcing a "no-pix-with" rule to a trio of twentysomething admirers. I'd also shares a quick "hi" with the film's adorable Bailee Madison, a 10-year-old acting prodigy with the precocious poise of early Dakota Fanning but without it seeming strange; I've worked with her and find her to be precious beyond belief.
The premiere had great energy; it was vibrating with excitement, potentially enhanced by the free popcorn, Godiva truffles, soda and water.
We were seated in the balcony. When my ticket couldn't be found originally, the assistant asked the PR, "Does he need good ones?" "No," came the reply, "just decent balcony ones." It's rare to be so frankly assessed when you're within earshot! The seats were fine, but this idiotic middle-aged woman in front of me was on her BlackBerry the entire time, including taking pictures of the movie.
Jennifer Aniston moved up the aisle below us and then returned, causing a stir, as did Kidman's journey to her seat.
The movie was not up my alley. The main issue is the script was just terrible and nothing in it made sense. It needed to be broader to be a farce or a little more grounded in reality to be truly effective as a rom-com. (There is one glaring plothole involving marriage that defies belief unless I missed an important sentence somewhere.) That said, supercharming Aniston and Sandler have palpable chemistry, making the movie watchable. She in particular is so wonderful in a role she could so easily have walked through. Kidman has a sort of over-the-top humorous part that reminded me of Meryl Streep in She-Devil, but not nearly as funny.
The movie's about a plastic surgeon willing to fake his entire life story in order to impress the perfect woman (Brooklyn Decker), and in its early minutes presents a series of hysterically funny, fugtastic cosmetic-procedure mishaps. I thought this could have been a running gag and made to be a commentary on learning to accept yourself, warts and all. But it was so not functioning on that level. I had my fun with that and some other layered moments, such as when Kidman is forced to ask the surgeon what he'd do to improve her (what's left to be done???) and when her perfect husband is revealed to have been secretly gay (Tommy, can you hear me???) and when Aniston is forced to listen to a joke involving (Brad Pitt's signature flick) Fight Club.
After the movie, I grabbed some footage of Decker and Roddick in the lobby and got lucky with a grudging pic-with alongside Roddick. He couldn't have been less enthused, and I didn't even attempt to jump over his net!
I'll say one thing—any movie goes down easier when you're seeing it at a premiere with guffawing patrons thrilled to be there.