Adam Sandler has a few good points that make him different from all the other actors out there. As a comedian, he isn’t afraid to go the extra mile for the laugh. As a Jew, he isn’t afraid to flaunt his heritage in almost every movie he makes. These are all things that I can respect. As a woman, he falls just a little flat. Truth time: the only Adam Sandler movies I liked were “50 First Dates” and “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.” When I saw the previews for “Jack and Jill” I immediately saw one actor trying to piggy-back on another actor’s thing. We all know the only actor that ever pulled a good gender-bender and made it funny was Eddie Murphy. But as a comedian, Adam Sandler was going to try.
Writers: Steve Koren (screenplay), Ben Zook (story)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes and Al Pacino
The story is about a pair of twins, one guy, one girl (both played by Adam Sandler with the help of some movie magic). Jack was always the bright and popular twin. Jill was always socially awkward and constantly clung to her brother. The portrayal of their relationship was over the top. Jack was the level-headed busy-body, while Jill was made to look like a needy, passive-aggressive attention lover. But I saw a hint of reality in it that hit home. I turned to my movie +1 and told him “I used to hang on my brother all the time like that. I guess I can see why he got so annoyed.” 30 years later, Jack is a successful advertizing producer, whereas Jill’s still lives at home with a pet Cockatoo. Jill comes over for her annual visit that turns Jack’s life upside-down.
The plot is driven by a hitch in one of Jack’s ads for Dunkin Donuts. He needs to get a famous actor to sponsor the new Dunkaccino. And they get someone I never expected…Al Pacino…as himself. The plan was to get Pacino to go along with an ad where he changes his name to match the product. Al Pacino…Dunkaccino. Yeah, I guess they sound similar enough. But according to a fellow reviewer, Al Pacino was a back-up plan. The original actor for that role was supposed to be Jack Nicholson, but he’s MIA for some secretive health issue. Besides, how were the writers going to make Nicholson sound like Dunkaccino.
In order for Jack to succeed with his donut coffee commercial, he meets Pacino with Jill tagging along. And guess what happens…cliché alert… you probably guessed it…Pacino falls in love with the quirky Jill and won’t do the commercial unless Jill reciprocates. Meanwhile, Jack, as one of the few normal people in this movie, has to keep his sister happy so she will like Pacino back. The twins argue and fight and hate each other, but this follows another old formula: the twins realize how much they really love each other and make up in the enc. Things get a little crazy in between, but I won’t spoil those moments here. However, they are worth bringing up.
Adam Sandler does one thing well: making disgusting comedic moments seem tolerable enough to enjoy. The key is timing, and Adam Sandler has that down to a T. Maybe it’s because he is self-aware. Maybe he has a formula for how long his gags should last. Whatever he is doing, I got to say I am pretty pleased with the punch-lines and slap-stick…even if the movie as a whole was pretty bad. They never last longer than the length of an audience’s laughter. And even the length of the entire movie was appropriate. It was pretty short by comparison of other comedies out there.
“Jack and Jill” was a pretty bad movie if you wanted something meaningful. If you just wanted a little mindless humor then this is the movie for you. There was some adorable acting by Katie Holmes and some cute children making their debut. There were also some surprising celebrity cameos that redeemed the movie a little bit. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t that good. Don’t think to hard about this movie. See it later if you have too. In fact, use your DVD or streaming video services. “Jack and Jill” isn’t worth more than that.