Film Review – Jack and Jill
You’ve got to be kidding.
While there’s still a little more than a month and a half left in the year, and a good handful of movies left to be released, I’m going to go out there and say with confidence that Jack and Jill, the latest comedy starring Adam Sandler, is the worst movie of 2011. By a mile. Hell, by two miles. Not since Salt (2010) have I walked out of a theater being so thoroughly upset by how silly and stupid a movie was. This is an unfunny holiday comedy that can barely live up to the description of “mediocre.” It does not give the audience—or itself—any kind of respect. There were times where I wanted to turn to the person next to me and ask how they could possibly stay in their seat throughout the duration of this mess. This movie does not deserve a bad review.
The worst thing about this whole debacle is that I have a nagging feeling that Sandler, along with the rest of his team, knew exactly what they were doing. When they came up with the idea of having him play the dual roles of twins Jack and Jill Sadelstein, they knew without a doubt that they were out to make a film that had absolutely no ambition. Sandler has been a star for years, and his films have made a ridiculous amount of money, but most of them have been watchable at the very least. Is this film some sort of test? Do they realize that having him dress up as a woman, sport one of the worst female voices ever, and wear unconvincing makeup will not provide for any kind of humor? This movie is borderline offensive in the way its comedy lacks any kind of bite or wit, but panders to the lowest common denominator, and goes even further below that. It feels like a soulless cash grab, where everyone involved was out to make a paycheck, with the real victims being the audience members that actually pay to see it.
The plot—barely existent—feels like the framework of a sitcom that never made it on air. One of Sandler’s roles is Jack, a successful advertising executive. He lives with his wife Erin (Katie Holmes) and his two children (Elodie Tougne/Rohan Chand). With the holidays coming up, Jack fears the arrival of his overbearing, obnoxious twin sister Jill (the other role). Jill is what you would expect: Adam Sandler in a dress. Let’s forget the fact that twins of opposite genders can never be identical but are always fraternal; the horrible aspect here is that the film attempts to get most of its laughs by seeing Sandler try to be feminine while failing miserably. He definitely fails, but not while being funny. He’s so self aware in this performance that we can never buy in to the reality of the set-up. I became uncomfortable with how unconvincing he was; nothing about this character hinted at any kind of reality. It would have been more interesting to see Jill be the straight person and Jack be the out of control clown. But that would require the film to actually be clever, and we already know that that’s something it doesn’t strive to be.
Oh, but it only gets worse. The second story thread involves Jack attempting to get an ad deal closed with an actor who completely blew my mind once he stepped on screen. Here’s a question for Al Pacino: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN THIS MOVIE?! Pacino is one of the biggest stars in the history of film. Like him or not, he has earned his reputation and legacy in the acting world. I sat with my mouth literally dropped open, seeing him play an exaggerated version of himself. He shouts and HOO-HAs all over the screen, as his character attempts to use his method acting to help him prepare for his next acting gig. The trouble is, he has lost his inspiration. Guess where he gets it back? Oh yes, from none other than Jill herself. Look, I understand; Pacino has been in the business for awhile. He’s received his acclaim, won his awards, and has been a part of some of the best movies ever made. I completely understand that at certain times, he may want to do something a little more light and fun. In theory, this actually seems kind of intriguing, and I admit that the best parts of the movie were when he poked fun at his own persona. The problem was that this was not the avenue to do it in. I shook my head with sadness seeing this legend doing the stupid things he was doing in this movie.
Pacino is just one of the egregious number of cameos. In nearly every other scene, there was a big name star or some sort of celebrity that would pop up for absolutely no reason at all. They have nothing to contribute to the overall story, and at certain times some don’t even have any dialogue to say—they’re simply there to be a presence! What are these people doing appearing in this film? Is Sandler such a Hollywood heavyweight that he can get just about anyone he wants into his projects, regardless of how utterly terrible they turn out? Don’t these people have better things to do with their lives? Is the economic situation so bad that even celebrities need to do whatever they can to earn a buck? The horror, I tell you, the horror!
This film is an ungodly failure from every discernible aspect. It contains no heart, no humor, and no enthusiasm. All the actors appear to be sleepwalking in their roles, and whatever laughs it does bring are of the awkward type, in an attempt to break the uncomfortable silence it instills. The only accomplishments that I could possibly give it is that the picture was in focus, and it succeeds in having a beginning, middle, and end. What makes me so upset is that the people involved must have known that they were making a bad movie, but went through with it anyway. It just goes to show how little they regard their audience, and how they give no kind of effort in making something that can actually be good. Do they think we’re that stupid? Do they think that we’ll eat up any kind of content they spew out and just go along with it? This movie is a crime to comedy, and anyone who is actually excited to see it needs to have a psychological examination, pronto.
Final Grade: F