|Jack and Jill
There’s a scene in Jack and Jill in which the title characters jump rope to the beat of Run DMC’s hit 1980s tune It’s Tricky. That’s a really good song. Okay, now that we’ve talked about what was good about the movie, let’s talk about the rest of it.
Adam Sandler plays twins, Jack and Jill, in this new comedy–and I use the term “comedy” loosely. This feels like an SNL skit from twenty years ago that should not have been turned into a movie, even back then. Yet here we are, and here Jack and Jill is.
The film opens with a montage reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally, as we meet several sets of twins talking about their relationships. We are then introduced to Jack and Jill. Jack has always been the popular one, while Jill annoys pretty much everyone she encounters–most of which, her brother Jack. As Jack, the head of an ad agency, tries to come up with a plan to reel in Al Pacino to do Dunkin Donuts’ Dunkachino campaign, Jill comes to LA from her native New York for Thanksgiving. However, it turns out that Jill bought a one-way ticket so that she can stay in Los Angeles with her brother and get some quality time with him. And the antics begin.
The plot quickly gets ludicrous, as Al Pacino (playing a crazier fallen star version of himself) inexplicably falls for Jill (playing the ugliest woman since the Wayans Brothers in White Chicks), as the movie goes from unfunny to painful in a matter of minutes. Jill cannot stand Pacino’s advances, but Jack sees this is the opportunity to land Pacino for his Dunkin Donuts commercial, so he tries to set his sister up with the famous actor. This is essentially what fills the entire second act. Pacino wants Jill. Jack tries to hook them up. Jill declines. Pacino wants Jill. Jack tries to hook them up. Jill declines. Lather, rinse, repeat.
There are characters that are introduced and dropped more quickly than any film since The Room. For example, Jill takes quickly to Jack’s gardner Felipe (played by the mildly amusing Eugenio Derbez) and the two of them sneak away to a barbecue with Felipe’s family, including his disapproving grandmother (played by, you guessed it, the mildly amusing Eugenio Derbez). This sets up a montage in which Jill is adored by Felipe’s family, and finally accepted for once in her life for who she is. Unfortunately, Felipe’s grandmother does not like Jill, according to the various shots of her scowling and eating an absurd amount of chili peppers to prove how much better she is than Jill (don’t ask). However, instead of this grandmother character sticking around and being a thorn in the side of Jill and Felipe’s romance, her character is promptly abandoned.
This is just one example of the many small things in the story that make the film feel rushed, incoherent, and pointless. None of the jokes are fresh (even as far as Adam Sandler goes), all of the actors are just phoning in recycled SNL performances, and when the heart of the story revolves around Adam Sandler making up with Woman Adam Sandler, it is hard to get too invested. The script feels like a first draft that began with the thought, “Hey, what if Adam Sandler played his own sister?” and, a weekend of writing later, led to this disaster. This is not to say that there are no funny moments or no funny characters, but they would all play much better as ten-minute audio skits, which Sandler did better than anyone in the mid-’90s, to the delight of teenagers everywhere. But Jack and Jill is not for teenagers because it isn’t crass enough, it’s not for adults because it isn’t smart enough, and it’s not for… well, anyone. It’s just a 90-minute snooze-fest.
If you consider yourself to be a diehard Adam Sandler fan, and you absolutely must watch every single movie of his including his work of the last decade, then fine, go ahead and waste an hour and a half watching Jack and Jill.
Movie Review by Mike Danner