If we were ever searching for the low point in the careers of both Adam Sandler and Al Pacino, Jack and Jill is unquestionably our buried treasure – the worst of the worst – the film that makes one long for titles such as Grown Ups and Just Go With It. Yes, it’s that awful.
But you see we critics – from time to time – seem to be evasive about our opinions. Why one does this, I’m not quite sure. So, I’ll go forth and just tell you that anyone can laud this heap of trash as well, a heap of trash. Hell, I’m doing it now. However, I’m searching for something more, something beyond the exterior of this dreadful endeavor. So we go to core of the problem: Adam Sandler.
Why is Mr. Sandler continuing to support, produce, and contribute to these pictures that not even his most loyal aficionados can tolerate? Why does Mr. Sandler feel this is a product worth spending time, money and effort on? If this argument feels dated, that’s because I’ve been contemplating this for a long, long time. It’s shame to see talent go to waste.
In director Dennis Dugan’s tale of mediocrity we follow Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) an advertising executive that’s both successful and manipulative though one would argue the latter attribute is a prerequisite for such a position. With the Christmas season right around the corner, things are about to get chaotic for Jack and his family (a son, a daughter, and a lovely wife played by Katie Holmes).
Sure, the festivities and family commitments always bring havoc in the lives of others, but Jack’s biggest concern is Jill, his identical twin sister who is also played by Sandler. Jill is an obnoxious and annoying gal with a big heart. But not to worry, Adam Sandler has her covered with his supreme class of acting.
Throughout every minute of Jack and Jill’s far too long 93-minute run-time, the boundaries of absurdity and stupidity are tested. The day of the poop springing up from a toilet or a character getting hit in crotch by a tennis ball, basketball, golf ball or baseball are over! Those happenings are almost esoteric in comparison to the even cheaper occurrences in Jack and Jill. Gross out gags have now been substituted with insulting generalizations of cultures, loathsome material about insecurity, and crass behavior only to be tolerated in, well, an Adam Sandler movie.
Though, Jack and Jill really gets into some trouble with its half-baked script. The screenplay, written by Steve Koren (who’s behind such praised titles as Click and Evan Almighty) and Ben Zook, contributes to a film without a story to tell. Jack is a self-indulgent brother who can’t see past his own shortcomings. Jill is so continuously annoying that it makes caring for her constant failures next to impossible. The rest of the characters on screen are just a backdrop for Sandler’s unfunny comedy material.
Which, truly, at the end of the day is the crux of the problem in Jack and Jill: It’s just not funny. It’s not so politically incorrect that it becomes dirty humor and it’s not a family film that makes out for some nice pleasant viewing, it’s just sort of… there.
In the pantheon of Adam Sandler’s endeavors, Jack and Jill won’t be forgotten but rather remembered as the film where a once-upon-a-time nuanced, hilarious, and affable actor lost every ounce of respect he once contained.
As for Mr. Pacino… I suspect Happy Madison Productions made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
.5 stars out of 4
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