For whatever reason I keep telling myself that I really like Adam Sandler. Even when his last few movies and the other Happy Madison productions seem to be intentionally exploiting his own audience to squeeze every last cent out of them- I still keep telling myself he’s funny. That’s why when I saw the trailer for JACK AND JILL I was convinced he wasn’t even trying anymore and in many ways the film is quite lazy. After doing some intense soul searching I’m still not entirely proud of the following statement- I did not hate this movie. Let me attempt to redeem your respect by saying in no way would I recommend knocking over the nearest senior citizen in a mad dash to see this, at best this is a mid week rental with a six pack to keep you company.
JACK AND JILL follows the exploits of twins Jack and Jill (clever isn’t it)- one, Jack (Adam Sandler), is a successful TV commercial director and the other, Jill (Adam Sandler), is an annoying, rude and obnoxious house guest in Jack’s home for Thanksgiving. Jack is under pressure to convince Al Pacino to be in a Dunkin Donuts commercial to save his production company and is also being driven nuts by his twin sister Jill. Jack decides the only way to get his sister off his hands is to find her a male companion but in a stroke of luck Al Pacino becomes infatuated with her so Jack thinks his best plan of action is to try to spark love between the two to both get Pacino in his commercial and get his sister out of his house.
I am willing to bet that there was a time when if someone told Al Pacino he’d be in a PG Adam Sandler movie where Sandler plays both a male and female part and is filled with fart, poop and racist/cultural slurs he would have gunned that person down with an Uzi. As it is, Pacino is present and accounted for and to be perfectly honest, he is actually quite funny- and also completely insane. In fact Sandler seems to have either called in every favor he had in the book, has incriminating info about a bunch of celebrities or has sold his soul to the devil to get all the celebrity cameos he has in JACK AND JILL. Let’s take roll call- Jarod from Subway, Shamwow pitchman, Regis Philbon, Dan Patrick, Shaq, John McEnroe, Drew Carey, Christie Brinkley, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Bruce Jenner and last but not least Johnny Depp wearing a Justin Beiber t-shirt. I have to say thank God for the cameos though because they were a welcome gag during the course of the movie Shaq and Depp being the best ones after Al Pacino.
The worst thing about this movie is Sandler’s commitment to the whole dress up routine which hasn’t been fresh for quite some time and to make it even worse, that voice he uses for Jill is nothing more than a voice he’s rehashed over and over in previous movies as well as his comedy act/cd’s- stretch that character out into an entire movie and it is a little grating on the ears even if there are some good jokes here and there. That can be said for a majority of the film is that there are some decent jokes pulled here and there and then a series of hit and miss fart and poop gags as well as some physical comedy. One of the worst jokes is Jack’s Hispanic groundskeeper, Felipe, who is constantly spouting off his own race’s stereotypes waiting for people to get uncomfortable then going “I’m keeding!” There’s also a scene where Felipe takes Jill to his family’s picnic and they keep showing reaction shots of an old lady with one tooth and shoving jalapeño peppers into her mouth, which just isn’t funny so much as its strange and a little gross. Also, there is a disturbing amount of dudes dressing up and playing female characters here- this includes David Spade which I couldn’t even recognize until it was pointed out to me.
Adam Sandler as Jack is much more tolerable than Adam Sandler as Jill even though I’m sure it will come as no surprise that in a movie like this and the fact that they are twins that Jack at some point has to exploit their “sameness” for his own benefit at some point, which is another tired aspect in a genre such as this. Sandler playing the character as Jack almost seems to be playing the part of haters to the fact that this movie exists at all because he seems bored himself at some points and even hints at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. There’s even a scene at the end with Sandler and Pacino debating the quality of the final product of something that almost seems to poke fun at the movie itself in some ways where Pacino literally says “This should not be seen by anyone.” Sometimes I really do wonder if Sandler is just trying to prove he can get people to see anything he’s in and at this point in his career is just mocking us by actually creating those crappy joke movies he mocked and ridiculed with his character in FUNNY PEOPLE.
Sadly enough as dirty as I feel saying this I actually laughed way more than I ever expected to during JACK AND JILL. I walked in with the lowest of low expectations and came out on the other end feeling that I was at least entertained even if the film is lazier than audiences really deserve. Sandler is nowhere near the top of his game, but is good as a smart ass and less so when he’s trying to give the film heart as he does at the end here. There is a charming message towards the end and because it’s done in a sort of goofy way it worked to a certain extent. The fact that cannot be denied is that although I did think the film is funnier than I ever would have expected it is still not the type of comedy quality audiences really deserve and is still bottom shelf material for Sandler. Low brow humor and dress up tome does not make comedic gold, just ask Eddie Murphy. I still await the Sandler that used to win me over with films like HAPPY GILMORE and BILLY MADISON- oh well, maybe next time.