Yawn with the twin
With Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, Eugenio Derbez, Nick Swardson; Running Time: 91 minutes; Written by Steve Koren, Robert Smigel, Ben Zook; Directed by Dennis Dugan; Rated PG (for crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence and brief smoking)
There’s a scene in JACK AND JILL where Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) takes his family to the movies to see “Some Like It Hot.” It’s a nod to the classic cross-dressing comedy in which Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon spend much of the film dressed as women. Perhaps Adam Sandler, who also plays Jack’s twin sister Jill here, was hoping some of the magic would rub off. Sadly, not one of the perpetrators of this alleged comedy seemed to have learned anything at all from Billy Wilder’s classic movie.
Jack is an advertising man in Los Angeles with a wife (Katie Holmes) and two cute but odd little kids. He has two big problems at the moment. One is that his biggest client, Dunkin’ Donuts, is threatening to leave if they can’t have Al Pacino promoting one of their coffee drinks. The other is that Jill is coming for a Thanksgiving visit and keeps extending her stay.
The simplest way to describe this is to note that Jill is the typical Sandler character: someone who is aggressively stupid. She’s loud, vulgar, acts inappropriately, and is totally oblivious to how annoying and obnoxious she is. Oddly, the two plot lines converge when Jack tries to meet Al Pacino (playing himself) at a basketball game and Pacino improbably falls for Jill because they’re both from the Bronx.
Like Charles Laughton doing an Abbott and Costello movie in the ‘50s to get a chance to play broad slapstick comedy, Pacino may have simply been curious if he could make the transition to Sandler’s brand of low comedy. The film will, with luck, prove to be an aberration in his career, one that future biographers will dismiss in a few lines by noting that when we finally see the Pacino commercial, the actor’s response is to demand they destroy all copies of it. Would they had done that with this movie.
Meanwhile, Jill resists Pacino’s advances and instead falls for the Sadelstein’s gardener, Felipe (Eugenio Derbez), whose sole shtick in the movie is to say something incredibly moronic and then say, “Just kidding.” At one point he takes Jill to attend a family picnic where we get repeated shots of his one-toothed, bug-eyed grandmother, including her getting knocked down several times. It turns out that Derbez is also playing his character’s grandmother. Will the hilarity never cease?
The whole point of the film is to promote family and love, and for Jack to see that Jill needs his affection and support. Of course, this is totally dishonest. Jill is a monster who is utterly lacking in empathy for those she professes to love. Perhaps the most memorable thing about “Jack And Jill” is that someone intercut its trailer with a key scene in the 1979 George C. Scott drama “Hardcore” and ended up generating more laughs than anything in the actual movie.•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being Jar Jar Binks Must Die… And Other Observations About Science Fiction Movies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville.