Jack and Jill (2011)

Film #29: Jack and Jill (2011)

Last year, a gentleman by the name of Adam Sandler made a movie called Jack and Jill. Though Sandler gave directing duties to his longtime collaborator Dennis Dugan (who has directed Sandler films from Happy Gilmore to Just Go With It), he made sure to have his fingers in every other aspect of production: Producing (alongside two others), writing (alongside three others), and, most noticeably, starring in not one but both title characters. That’s right, Adam Sandler plays both Jack and his incredibly lewd twin sister Jill. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought it was a joke, like something Sandler’s character from Funny People would have made during the nadir of his career. Unfortunately for all of us, Jack and Jill is not a joke. It’s easy to tell, since the movie’s excruciatingly unfunny.

Honestly, this movie may have done some serious damage to my inner being. There’s a reason I haven’t written a review or watched a movie in nearly an entire month, and that reason is Jack and Jill. The fact that such drivel could get made, and worse, rake in nearly $150 million at the box office, really makes me weep for my favorite art form. But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself.

Opening with footage of actual twins (you know, consisting of two different people), Jack and Jill tells the story of uptight LA advertising exec Jack and his Brooklyn-based twin sister Jill, who comes to visit him for Thanksgiving and ends up overstaying her welcome. Jack reluctantly entertains her while trying to get her to return to the East Coast, until they go to a Lakers game, and Jill wins the affection of one Alfredo Pacino, who Jack has been trying to wrangle for a Dunkin’ Donuts promotion.

Sorry, I can’t do it anymore. I was actually starting to treat Jack and Jill as though it were a real movie for a second. It’s not. It is a masturbatory mockery of a movie, nothing more than an exercise in extracting as much money from the studio as possible to spend on Sandler and friends. Notice the long list of actors who appear in nothing but other Happy Madison films – Nick Swardson, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Jonathan Loughran; hell, at this point, I think we can even include Rob Schneider and David Spade among that (cess)pool of talent. Clearly these men were hungry and needed work, so Sandler obliged, giving them a few moments of unfunny screentime in exchange for what I’m sure was a ludicrous paycheck.

Aw, look, it’s that dude and that one guy!! (also: David Spade in drag)

Notice also the elaborate settings that Sandler places himself in. I’m sure it was absolutely necessary for the plot to go on a giant cruise ship and to a Laker’s game. Those things couldn’t have possibly been written in to give Sandler and his cronies a paid vacation.

If you’re skeptical of my cynicism, believe me, you shouldn’t be. It’d be one thing if all these self-congratulatory story elements were part of a movie that had some thought behind it, but this was obviously written with the lowest possible effort behind it. The “humor” consists of the same old shticks that Sandler has relied on for the past 15 years – annoying baby voices, fart and poop jokes, “funny-looking” old people, broad physical gags – alongside some dead horses that Mr. Sandler must have discovered he hadn’t personally beaten, such as CGI animals and some weird out-of-place Atheism jokes.

These “jokes” are hung like shitty ornaments on the most miserably trite Christmas tree of a script that I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing actualized into film. Both of the lead characters are deplorable. Jack is selfish, mean, arrogant, and just an all-around dick. Jill manages to be worse, with her unrealistically inhibited social skills, ignorance about things as basic as using a keyboard on a computer, and obvious passive-aggression (she also has what is possibly cinema’s least-funny running joke, where she doesn’t know the name of a movie she’s thinking of even as other characters tell her the correct title).

It’s clear early on that we’re supposed to care about the “growth” of these two characters, but it’s hard when you spend the whole film wishing they’d both suffer from some tragic auto accident instead. The emotional beats in this story are so manufactured and shallow that they wouldn’t fill an ice cube tray. Hell, they don’t even bother writing words for the emotional climax between the twins, instead masking it with nonsensical “twinspeak”. Really, America? You’re gonna let that one slide? They’re not even trying!

They’re so different but they’re really the same! You can tell because they have the same mannerisms when they’re watching a mov- shoot me now. (Also, holy product placement!)

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to wrap this review up, because I’m starting to feel an embolism coming on.

By time it lugs its giant bag of studio money into the third act, the movie drops the facade that it’s a comedy. Jack, via some wacky outrageous hijinks, ends up dressing as Jill to go on a date with Mr. Pacino, giving us a little bit of Sandlerception. The romantic evening between the two of them is entirely devoid of humor, instead playing out as dark and weird, and not even Pacino’s oddly devoted performance can bring it anywhere near the realm of “enjoyable”.

Jack and Jill is such an awful movie that I gave up on all of cinema for a month as I tried to forget it. There’s some video out there explaining how the movie is seriously and literally a scam to launder money to Sandler and his friends, but the thing was 55 minutes long, and I just can’t bring myself to waste anymore of my time on this Earth discussing this piece of trash. Even writing this review nearly moved me to end my own life.

You were almost responsible for my death, Mr. Pacino.

Ironically, I believe that the only thing I could say to Adam Sandler with regards to this movie comes from Billy Madison, a film of his that was made before his humor wells dried up and crumbled apart: Mr. Sandler, what you’ve just made … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent film were you even close to anything that could be considered a funny idea. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having watched it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Final rating: 0/10

–James A. Janisse

Stray Observations:

  • I now have a list of celebrities that I am forever disappointed in. They include Drew Carey, Regis Philbin, Johnny Depp, and calcified at the top of that list, Mr. Alfredo James Pacino.
  • I’ll admit I appreciated “wombmates”. But that’s it. I just like wordplay.
  • I’ve never had to write so many words in quotes in a review before, but I just couldn’t call this movie funny or its dialogue jokes without the qualifier.
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One response

  1. Skyy

    Who are you? I know this review is old, but my just seeing it for the first time says something in itself. Im sorry that you have no sense of humor or imagination coupled with a sense of self-impotence sorry importance to think that your review would make a world of difference to anyone, BUT you. That said. Adam has a long list of fans dating back to his days on Saturday Night Live that will forever galvanize his imagination. No review from someone that is virtually unknown with ever change that. Your OPINION was not of the movie, but of the Producer and other actors IN the movie. This movie was a clean, sex free, FAMILY movie with slap-stick funny that brings families closer. This is in fact one of the only movies a mother and father can watch with their 8, 10, and 17 year-olds and not have to worry about having the junior most turn their head and cover their ears every other scene. To me that is part of what makes Adam et crew fabulous in every way.

    Your review of this movie I mistakenly stated is about the people in it more than the movie itself, however you really dont even state WHY you do not like Adam Sandler. So basically these are just words on an internet site that are there merely to see your thoughts in print? Im also sure that Adam and friends could care not about your review, as you stated it grossed $150 regardless of your review. Stating that this movie was an excuse for a vacation….None of the people involved with this film has to use a movie as a excuse to take a vacation at any point in their lives. They simply pick up the phone and make arrangements to go. Shots like that make it painfully obvious that you clearly are TRYING either to be funny and failing or just really hate the people in this movie.

    I suppose unlike the rest of the working world, you can not leave your opinion at the door when you walk in. However your dislike of the cast, should not have anything to do with liking the movie. Why they decided to take the family on a cruise is part of the script, and your not understanding WHY cracks me up. Because its FUNNY sir. We dont want to read your take on what you think about their choice of setting. We would go right to the those in the know for that. As for Mr Pacino (swoon) my respect grows more for him having played the part. Do you know why? Because it shows he is not a pretentious ass that thinks he is too good just to let go and be a spaz and play a role SO far from the ones that made him famous. We get to see a different side of him and THAT truly makes him an actor worthy of praise. Your review fails as much if not more than your take on this movie.

    Seeing as you certainly do not have any love from this camp, and care nothing for my review of your review, I will leave you with one thought. No one like to hear their work trashed for the simple fact of being a douche. However most do welcome a critique of their work thats helpful and meant with the best of intentions. That said have fun with your… internet site, I most likely will not read more of your reviews but if that is you in the pic, you are cute. Have a great day Mr Janisse, take that degree that wasnt cheap and do something with it besides host an internet review site. I dont know make a movie, and make it better than anything you have ever reviewed so that you can have a taste on the other side of the pen. Good Luck hon. Enjoy life.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm

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