Just Go With It: Starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston

At the center of Just Go With It is an everyday guy who has let a careless lie get away from him.  “At the beginning of the movie, my character, Danny, was going to get married, but he gets his heart broken,” says Adam Sandler.  “The night of his heartbreak he happens to have the ring on and a young lady is nice to him, because she thinks he’s married and thinks he’s harmless and won’t do anything that other guys were trying to do.  A light goes off in his head.”

The ring becomes his scheme to avoid getting his heart broken: the ladies think he’s off the table, and with no strings attached, no one gets hurt – especially not Danny.  But when he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), the girl of his dreams, his lies come back to haunt him – she thinks he’s married.  Instead of coming clean, he chooses to weave an even more tangled web: he invents a fake wife – to be played by his long-suffering assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) – from whom he can get a fake divorce, clearing the way for smooth sailing with Palmer.

How does a single mom like Katherine, trying to get by and provide for her two kids, get roped into Danny’s outrageous scheme?  “She’s just exhausted by him,” says Aniston.  “She feels she has to help him save himself from his own web of lies, even though she doesn’t approve.  When she’s in the middle of it, you can see her thinking, ‘How did I get on board with this?’”

But she does help, because Danny and Katherine have a unique relationship.  “They work together and have a great relationship – she thinks he’s funny and he obviously cares about her, and even though he lies to everybody else, he always tells her the truth. She’s the only one who knows what he’s really like,” says Aniston.  “She can’t help but like him, even when she thinks he’s been acting like a pig.”  When he convinces Katherine that he is done playing the ring game and ready to settle down with Palmer, she does what any friend would do and helps.


But that’s just the start – as Danny and Katherine attempt to keep up the charade, the lie keeps getting bigger and bigger.  “Every lie has a domino effect,” says director Dennis Dugan.  Dugan most recently directed Sandler in Grown Ups, the star’s biggest worldwide hit to date, taking in more than $260 million.

Before Katherine knows it, her kids, Maggie and Michael, have been looped into the lie, but they’ll need a little more convincing… especially when Michael sees a way to turn the tables on Danny.  Before he knows it, Danny is on his way to Hawaii with a fake wife, fake kids, his real cousin (who’s playing the fake wife’s fake boyfriend) – all in an effort to convince Palmer that he’s a stand-up guy.

Anybody could fall for the object of Danny’s desire – schoolteacher Palmer Dodge.  The role is played by Brooklyn Decker, who makes her big-screen debut in the film.  Last year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, it’s easy to see why a guy like Danny would fall for her.  (Obviously, it’s that she’s funny and charming.)  “Palmer is a really sweet girl, a naïve, compassionate, and hopeful math teacher.  She falls in love with Danny, Adam’s character, and he decides this girl might be the one for him. So he gets caught up in this whole web of lies to try to convince Palmer that he’s a decent guy.”

Decker had auditioned for Sandler and was in the mix for the part when last year’s Swimsuit Issue hit newsstands.  “That was a total whirlwind,” she remembers.  While she was doing publicity for the magazine, “that week, I got a call asking if I could come out for the table read with Adam, Jen, Nicole, and Nick – so I came out to do it, and that evening I got a call from Adam saying, ‘Hey, kid, you want the part – it’s yours.’”

Dugan says Decker had the chops to hang with her more seasoned co-stars.  “Obviously, she’s extremely beautiful, but it turns out she’s just a natural actress,” says Dugan.  “She’s very sweet and a good actress.”

“Acting is effortless for her,” says co-star Nick Swardson.  “She’s just so funny, natural, charming, organic; it’s so real.  There’s nothing corny about her – her performance is just genuine.”

It might have been intimidating to take on such a key role for her first film, but Decker couldn’t have asked for a better set. “I’m the new kid on the block, and I’m surrounded by these amazing people, but they were all very encouraging and made the set a lighthearted place.  Everyone was so talented – everyone was funny – it was really an opportunity for me to challenge myself under the best circumstances.”

Of course, it wasn’t all serious work.  “The guys were playing pranks on each other and making jokes and laughing all day.  It’s a really fun way to work.”

Decker tried a prank of her own – but it didn’t work out so well.  “I had the fart app on my phone – you push the button and it makes this wretched noise,” says Decker.  “It was a scene where Adam and I were in bed together – it’s incredibly quiet and the camera pans were very slow.  I had the phone under the pillow, and I’m snuggled with Adam and when the camera panned over I was planning on releasing the fart app.  So I do, and he barely hears it.  He thinks it’s my stomach growling, and he just says, ‘All right, let’s do that again.’”  That was my failed prank.”

Once in Hawaii, the lies get piled on top of lies: when Katherine runs into an old frenemy (Nicole Kidman), she cooks up a fake life of her own – she says Danny is her husband.

Kidman describes her character, Katherine’s college nemesis, Devlin:  “She’s very ostentatious and very competitive, and that’s what makes her so mean.  It all comes from a deep-seated insecurity.”

Kidman admits that she’s “not a comedienne, so it’s totally unusual for me to do something like this.”  Still, any actor will find it difficult to resist Sandler when he calls offering a part.  “He called up and said, ‘Look, I’ve got this completely outrageous character; do you want to do it?’  I’ve always loved his movies, and I worked with him on ‘Saturday Night Live’ 20 years ago, and I thought he was great, so it was lovely to be asked.  I just love doing comedy, but I don’t get asked to do it very often.  I did To Die For years and years ago, but that’s a black comedy, so it was great to be asked to do something outrageous.”

The outrageous comedy allowed Kidman to play out different kinds of scenes – for example, a hula contest, where Devlin’s ultracompetitive nature comes out.  And the result is unacceptable to Devlin: “She hates that it’s a tie,” says Kidman, “so the tiebreaker is a contest where we have to move a coconut up our bodies without using our hands.  It was so goofy – it was fun to do.”

But the biggest difference, Kidman says, is the low-key vibe of the set of a Sandler movie.  “I just can’t believe how relaxed the set is.  I’m used to working on these sets where everyone has to be really serious.  To work on something where you get to play it’s been such a fun thing for me.  It doesn’t feel like you’re making a movie; it feels like you’re just hanging out, and at this stage in my life, I just want to have fun.”