I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Adam Sandler is a great actor. You need look no further than his various dramatic endeavors to see that. Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me and even Funny People all showcased how terrific he can be when forced to do something other than make silly faces and talk in an annoying voice. That’s why it’s so disheartening to see him star in Jack and Jill, a shockingly bad, heinously unfunny and pathetically witless film with close to zero redeeming factors. Jack and Jill is the absolute worst thing Sandler has ever been involved in and he starred in Grown Ups, Mr. Deeds and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, so that’s really saying something.
The plot revolves around Jack (Adam Sandler), a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles who is looking forward to taking his kids on their first ever cruise after the holidays. Unfortunately, his twin sister, Jill (also Adam Sandler), is on her way to visit and she’s not so easy to get rid of. Of course, this leads Jack and Jill into a series of supposedly “wacky” situations and mishaps, though the only two mildly humorous parts in the whole thing are in the trailer. The rest of it is a vacuous wasteland where laughs are delivered like food at a Chick-fil-A on a Sunday.
Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh because Al Pacino, in one of the most interesting career choices he’s ever made, is fun to watch. He plays himself in the movie and breaks free from his typical roles where drama always comes first. Here, he is at his silliest and you can’t help but admire his willingness to play along with such absurdity while mocking his own celebrity and career. If only he had been in a movie that actually took advantage of his dedication. Instead of clever humor, we are shown scene after scene of slapstick shenanigans and shameless potty humor. Despite Pacino’s presence, Jack and Jill is for those who still think artificial fart sounds are funny. If that’s not you, then congratulations! You’re too mature for this movie.
Still, even the least humorous comedies can survive with strong characters, but like many of Sandler’s other movies, the characters are unlikable, self centered and accompanied by some type of annoying vocal treatment (Bobby Boucher has nothing on Jill). Jack is played as a family man, but his love only goes as far as his wife and kids. His sister, on the other hand, he loathes. He dreads her visit, urges her to leave, calls her a number of hurtful names and even tells her in the most sarcastic and mean spirited way possible that she makes those around her uncomfortable. He’s a terrible brother that you come to hate, yet you can’t really blame him for any of his actions. It would be a test of wills for anyone to spend any amount of time with Jill, a statement I feel comfortable making seeing as how the short hour and a half I spent watching this made me wish for any type of debilitating illness to hit so I would have an excuse to leave the theater. She’s loud, obnoxious and beyond aggravating. She’s one of the most annoying characters in the movies this year.
Of course, you’re supposed to come to like both of them by the end of the movie—you learn of Jill’s hardships and watch as Jack redeems himself—but such a tired formula doesn’t work anymore unless something special is done with it. As should be plainly obvious by now, there’s nothing special about Jack and Jill. A better ending would have seen Jack falling down a hill (preferably a big one) and Jill tumbling after.
Jack and Jill receives 0/5