Reviews

Jack and Jill

By Tom Brennan November 11th 2011, PG, 86min, Sony Pictures
Jack and Jill


Once again, Adam Sandler has released his worst movie to date. This time it’s the nauseating “Jack and Jill” in which Sandler graces the silver screen in a dual role. Sandler seems content in striving for the lowest form of humor possible with each of his consecutive releases, and on that front he succeeds admirably here. However, “Jack and Jill” will pose as a challenge for his future ventures as there no longer seems to be room to sink any lower.

The collected works of Adam Sandler all seem to have a checklist of various insipid elements that provide the films with a sort of asinine template to follow. These staples of a true Adam Sandler film are checked off accordingly in “Jack and Jill”. They include annoying and unlikeable characters (usually portrayed by Sandler), heavy doses of bathroom humor, embarrassing cameos by celebrities who should know better (Johnny Depp takes a turn here), awkward crowd scenes where hoards of random strangers appear to be in awe of whatever Sandler’s characters are up to, a failed attempt at sentimentality late in the film and glaringly shameless and offensive bits of product placement throughout the movie. That last one gets amped up to a shocking degree in “Jack and Jill” with Dunkin’ Donuts getting the award for the most transparent and offensive client.

“Jack and Jill” is nothing more than a showcase for Adam Sandler’s increasingly annoying shtick, however there is an obligatory plot. Sandler plays Jack Sadelstein, a successful Hollywood advertising executive who dreads Thanksgiving as much as most of us dread the prospect of a new Adam Sandler movie. The reason for this is that the holiday brings about the visit of his twin sister, Jill (also played by Sandler). Jill is annoying, obnoxious, needy and passive-aggressive (not to mention gross). As her initial weekend visit stretches into a month she becomes a constant annoyance to Jack.

Jill is a repulsive human being in every sense and does things no normal person would ever think about doing, let alone actually doing them. Her companion is a talking parrot named Poopsie (voiced by Sandler) who goes for even dumber laughs than the ones attempted by his human counterparts. Jack has a wife and two kids who don’t seem to be as annoyed by Jill. Katie Holmes plays Jack’s wife, Erin and is essentially human wallpaper in the movie as she barely speaks or reacts to anything going on. Rounding out the cast is an obsessive suitor who’s after Jill named Al Pacino. Yes, Al Pacino… that Al Pacino.

Remember when 2002’s “S1m0ne” was considered Pacino’s career low point? That film has now been given a considerable bump in its standing with the release of “Jack and Jill”. Pacino doesn’t just appear in an extended cameo in the film either; he’s a full supporting character with a lot of screen time. Pacino plays himself (or an insane version of himself) in a performance that can only be described as cringe inducing. In the movie, Pacino is deliriously in love with Jill (Sandler) based on the fact that she’s from the Bronx and he feels they share a connection. Jill has no interest in Pacino, which only makes Al more aggressive and leads to some truly awful courting scenes.

Although Pacino doesn’t take the role too seriously, he doesn’t exactly wink at the camera either. Pacino embarrasses himself and his legacy throughout “Jack and Jill” even going so far as to quote “The Godfather” at one point. Oh, and he raps, we can’t forget that. Al Pacino raps and dances in “Jack and Jill” to put the rancid icing on the already deflated cake. Perhaps Pacino thought it would be fun to play a version of himself in a comedy, it’s also possible that he owed Sandler a favor, or maybe he lost a bet to his agent. Regardless of his reasoning for appearing in “Jack and Jill”, this may take a while for him to recover from.

The gimmick of Sandler playing his own twin sister might have elicited an amused smirk upon first appearance. However, it’s over and done within seconds and then the cold reality sets in that this gimmick will be poorly exploited over and over until the movie comes to a merciful end. Virtually every attempted laugh in “Jack and Jill” comes at the expense of the Jill character as she was created to laugh at, not laugh with. Since Jill is played by a man, the movie finds it perfectly acceptable to make her character as annoying and grotesque as possible. As a result, the numerous attempted gags that play off Jill’s appearance, vile nature or various misfortunes have a level of numbness to them after the first few attempts. There are no endearing qualities about Jill and we as an audience feel nothing for her.

Perhaps if some care was given to make the Jill character remotely feminine, it could have been less irritating. Instead, the character just looks like Sandler in drag, so she’s never accepted as a real person. At one point in the movie, Jack masquerades as Jill in order to woo Al Pacino so that he can get Al to do a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts (and yes, I’m as sickened to write that sentence as you are to read it).

The visual of the Jack character dressed in drag as his sister (complete with coconuts for breasts) is identical to how Jill appears in the film. That’s just one of the many problems with this movie. No care was given to sell the Jill character as an actual person. Jill doesn’t look or sound anything like a woman and has no feminine qualities to speak of. The voice Sandler uses while playing Jill is as irritating as the character herself. Women everywhere should feel insulted by his portrayal.

The actual effect of seeing Sandler as both characters in the same shot isn’t remotely impressive since little care was given to properly compose the two characters on screen. Often when the two characters appear in the same scene, it’s achieved via cutaway shots. On the few occasions where the pair is directly interacting with each other, the effect seems awkward and distracting. The two never make natural eye contact with one another and it becomes obvious that we’re watching a cheap effect, not a true interaction. Considering all the effort put into the computer generated effects to sell the gimmick visually, you would think care would be taken on the set to make sure those effects would align properly with the actual filmed footage.

There is also a sweeping slow motion shot of Jill coming down a staircase that mocks the likes of “Pretty Woman” or any film where an attractive female is preparing for a big date. The intended effect of this scene is presumably comical in nature; perhaps pointing out the absurd juxtaposition of Jill alongside mental visuals of an actual female. Instead the scene serves as a blatant reminder to any audience member with intelligence just how poorly they are spending their time at that exact moment.

The sad fact is that although “Jack and Jill” appeals to the absolute lowest base, it will still have an audience. Adam Sandler will continue to produce more inept comedies as long as audiences pay money to see them. It’s hard to figure out exactly who his target audience is; though it’s likely children 12 and under (and perhaps adults who have the mentality of children 12 and under). That crowd may take great pleasure hearing the Jill character make loud noises emanating from her rear end as she sits on the toilet after her first Mexican meal.

As bad as “Jack and Jill” looks in its various marketing campaigns, the movie itself is far worse than one can possibly imagine. It’s not “so bad it’s good” either, it’s “so bad it’s insulting to anyone with a fair degree of intelligence.” As low as Adam Sandler has sunk with his past efforts, he managed to hit the proverbial bottom here (then drilled past that). There are no actual jokes or laughs in the film, just blatant stupidity. “Jack and Jill” plays like an extended spoof trailer, one that’s so obviously bad and painfully stupid that it couldn’t possibly be a real movie. The unfortunate reality is that “Jack and Jill” is indeed real and is now playing at a theater near you.

SHARE: