How exactly does Adam Sandler’s mind work? Has he deluded himself into believing his ideas are actually funny? I’m forced to ask these questions given the disastrous results of most of his recent creative projects. These would include The House Bunny, Grown Ups, Just Go with It, Zookeeper, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, and now Jack and Jill, in which Sandler is not only the co-writer and co-producer but also does double duty as the title characters, who are fraternal twins. Imagine the work that must go into making this; Sandler had to be put into makeup for the female role, do all scenes with that character, then do all of the scenes with the male character, and then both versions of himself had to be digitally composited into the shots. In both instances, he had to react to a person who wasn’t actually there.
But what does all this effort count for in something this unendurably bad? If you can visualize the experience of listening to fingernails on a chalkboard, that’s pretty much what watching this movie is like. It’s a grating, strained, hopelessly unfunny comedy. It’s being geared towards families, and yet every scene shows no indication that it was geared for any potential audience – with the possible exception of diehard Sandler fans, who are truly devoted if they think seeing this will be worth the time and money. Its basically sound premise is ruined by the decision to have Sandler play both lead roles; as a woman, he could not be less convincing even if he had a neon sign over his head rhythmically blinking, “I’m really a man!” His proportions are all wrong. He looks grotesque.
The Jill character is shrill, offensive, and annoying. This is exactly why Jack, a successfully Los Angeles commercial producer, dreads having her visit every year for Thanksgiving. She typically stays for just one weekend, which Jack has learned to grin and bear. But this year is different; since their mother died, Jill has no family left in the Bronx, and she now wants to stay with her brother and his family all the way through Hanukah, perhaps even through New Years. Jack is, of course, vehemently opposed to this idea. The same cannot be said of his wife, a perpetual go-between named Erin (Katie Holmes), and their children, Gary and Sofia (Rohan Chand and Elodie Tougne). They like Jill so much, you can’t help but wonder if all three of them are either in denial or insane. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. Take Gary, the adopted Indian boy; he has a strange compulsion to tape things to his body, including salt shakers, cooked lobsters, and living birds.
In a jaw-dropping subplot, Jack seeks out Al Pacino in the hope that he will endorse a new line of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee products. Yes, he finds the Oscar-winning actor, who plays a caricature of himself, but that isn’t the joke; Pacino falls head-over-heels in love with Jill, and spends the rest of the film trying to woo her. All eventually leads to him performing a rap solo and dance number. Let me reiterate that this movie features Al Pacino. You know, the Godfather trilogy? Dog Day Afternoon? Scarface? Scent of a Woman? Serpico? ...And Justice for All? Author, Author? The astounding reality that he accepted the offer to be in this movie is second only to the considerable work he puts into his role. My God, he actually took this seriously.
Apart from Pacino, we’re treated to a host of other cameo appearances. Some are understandable, like Dana Carvey, Norm MacDonald, The Sham-Wow Guy, and David Spade (who, incidentally, also appears in drag). Others are just as unbelievable as Pacino. These would include Regis Philbin, Shaquille O’Neal, and Drew Carrey. Topping the list is Johnny Depp. Yes, Johnny Depp appears in this movie, too. At this point, he no longer has to be ashamed by his years on 21 Jump Street. Even though his screen time adds up to less than two minutes, this will be a hard one to live down.
The film is bookended by testimonials given by real life identical twins, who bounce biting remarks off each other before professing their love for one another. Did the filmmakers conveniently forget that the main characters are not identical twins, but fraternal, since one is male and the other is female? Never mind. It’s more than amazing to me that movies like Jack and Jill get made. It’s actually kind of disturbing. Movies like this are comedic dead zones that play to the lowest common denominator in a desperate attempt for laughs. In the course of this movie, Jill will do all manner of broad slapstick routines, including crushing a horse, getting into a barroom brawl with a rival woman (played by a man), and repeatedly whack an elderly Mexican woman (again, played by a man) in the head. And yes, she will inevitably go to the bathroom with the runs, and we will have to listen as the sounds of explosive diarrhea fill the theater.
By Joan Alperin Schwartz I love laughing. Nothing feels as good as a big, fat belly laugh...Well, maybe one other thing, but laughing is definitely right up there. So I was really looking forward to seeing, Adam Sandler's new film, 'Jack And Jill, directed by Dennis Dugan (Grownups). It's a comedy, right? Wrong! There is absolutely nothing funny about this movie. This is a really bad film that … more
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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