Mark Reviews Movies

Jack and Jill (2011)


1 Star (out of 4)

Director: Dennis Dugan

Cast: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, Eugenio Derbez, Nick Swardson, Elodie Tougne, Rohan Chand, Tim Meadows

MPAA Rating: PG (for crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence and brief smoking)

Running Time: 1:33

Release Date: 11/11/11

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Review by Mark Dujsik | November 10, 2011

Jack and Jill is allegedly a comedy, but there are sections that would better suit a horror movie. Most notably (apart from seeing David Spade in a body suit with large breasts—the stuff of nightmares) is a scene in which Adam Sandler, who plays identical twins Jack and Jill Sadelstein (The male-female variety, I learn, is very rare), must, as the male twin, disguise himself as his sister to woo a male admirer. It's a meta-joke, obviously (or perhaps completely lost on the filmmakers—a very distinct possibility), that forces us to confront the double-casting/dressing-in-drag convention that really is the only reason this movie exists—to give Sandler the opportunity to play two equally dislikeable characters and do the same, old, silly trademarked voice he always does for one of them.

Anyway, it's a creepy scene. Firstly, it serves no purpose to the plot except as an excuse to have its proto-masculine character get a bit uncomfortable when his sister's admirer gets a little too close for comfort. Actually, it doubly serves no purpose, because the sight of Sandler dressed as a woman already has been firmly established by the movie's gimmick. If it isn't funny to see Sandler the actor in a dress, it's certainly not going to be funny to see Sandler the actor as a character with melons shoved into a bra (A helpful bathroom attendant adjusts them, which leads to a similar scene with the real Jill, and, well, one can only guess—and rightly—the results).

Secondly, there are the multiple tiers of deceit perpetrated by Jack in pretending to be his sister. There's not only the guy welcoming Jack into his home but also his family, who is waiting for him back on a cruise ship (Don't ask) to have some fun on their family vacation (The scene swaps between day and night with far too much ease to determine what time of day it actually is, so maybe they're all asleep anyway). The betrayal to his sister, who makes it clear she wants nothing to do with the guy who's become infatuated with her, of course, tops the list of betrayals.

Thirdly—and most importantly—the admirer is Al Pacino. Yes, Al Pacino is in this movie, playing a nervous-breakdown-having, grope-happy, and desperate version of himself. We have far too few screen legends left for this to happen. At least Pacino seems in on the joke—again, if the filmmakers are even aware of it—that the plot revolves around Jack's attempt to get him to do a commercial for a coffee drink that turns the actor's name into a product.

One can only wonder if Steve Koren's screenplay is in part inspired by Sandler's real-life attempt as a producer to pull Pacino into this wreck. If such is the case, was a part of his contract that he must essentially disown the entire movie (in an intentional—or completely accidental—way) by telling Sandler's character to burn it? "It," of course, being the commercial he makes, but we can almost hear Pacino being a bit severe when his persona tells Jack that no one must ever see it.

The plot involves Jill coming to visit Jack and his family for Thanksgiving. He really dislikes his sister, because, well, she's obnoxious. We can sympathize with him to a degree until he starts to become similarly so. Jack's wife Erin (Katie Holmes) thinks the two of them can and should get along, and when Jill decides that she wants to stay through Hanukkah, their birthday, and possibly New Year's Day (when the family is supposed to take a cruise), Jack starts to think he won't be able to last.

That (in addition to the Pacino subplot in which the actor wants to date Jill while Jack wants Pacino to be in his commercial so his production company doesn't go bankrupt) is it. The plot only exists to string together a collection of jokes that range from body sweat to diarrhea, from mocking the homeless to encouraging violence against people with differing religious beliefs, from Jill crashing a jet ski to Jill punching a bathroom attendant through a wooden door, and from a kid that tapes a parrot on his stomach to the same kid taping a lobster on his back to the same damn gag over and over again.

Jack and Jill is also allegedly a "family" movie, intended for the enjoyment of adults and children. It openly criticizes itself (Who knows anymore whether they meant to or not?) as being too risqué for kids (Would the MPAA Ratings Board please stay awake while watching these things?), and adults would do well to avoid it, too.

Copyright © 2011 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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