Bear this in mind: I am not an Adam Sandler fan — never have been. Not of his SNL skits nor of Opera Man nor of the Hanukkah song, and certainly not of his juvenile movies. I’ve never understood the appeal of his quiet-guy-who-suddenly-gets-loud schtick or the frat-boy camaraderie he and his frequent collaborators try to convey in cash grab after cash grab.
And yet despite all that, when I decided to review Jack and Jill, I held out hope that while I probably wouldn’t like it, it would least be stupid funny. Something in the realm of the sublimely idiotic Grandma’s Boy, a 2006 lowbrow comedy that Sandler’s company produced.
Alas, my hopes exceeded Sandler’s grasp.
Jack and Jill is so bad, I want to give it a rating lower than zero, just so as not to offend this summer’s remake of Conan the Barbarian, upon which I bestowed a goose egg. At least that was a poor movie that tried, however ineptly, to entertain. Jack and Jill is like watching monkeys throw their feces at a wall. Some films are time wasters. To sit through Jack and Jill is to experience time being murdered.
The movie, as it were, has only the thinnest of plots. It’s all concept, and what you see on the poster is what you get: Sandler in dual roles playing brother-sister twins. His Jack is a well-off Los Angeles marketing company exec, and his Jill is a loud, obnoxious, big-boned drama queen with a thick Jewish New York accent and no self esteem.
Sandler isn’t a funny person — he’s someone who wants desperately to be seen as funny. And so he flails and flails, making a jackass out of himself and stitching together scenes of people being morons. Jill inexplicably rides a jet ski in the pool. No setup, no explanation. Jack’s young son tapes things to his body for no other reason than to be weird. Jill runs into the woods with her pet bird when she feels neglected. Allen Covert dresses up like a homeless person, because homeless people are inherently hilarious, apparently. And on and on.
All Sandler’s buddies and repeat offenders are back to lend their support: David Spade, Nick Swardson, Tim Meadows. Maybe Sandler’s just being kind to give them a paying gig, because none of them do anything amusing or have a single funny line. But if their involvement is to be expected, how to explain Al Pacino in a significant supporting role as a caricature of himself? Did he not see Anger Management and witness the slumming of his peer Jack Nicholson? What could have possibly persuaded him to think that lusting after Sandler in drag (which is precisely what he’s reduced to) and chasing him around a Spanish castle would be a respectable choice? Johnny Depp instantly de-cools himself with a cameo in which he’s dressed up like Johnny Depp for Halloween, and suffers the ignominy of sitting at a Lakers game next to Pacino, who wears a fake beard. And how lacking in self esteem do you have to be, Katie Holmes, to reduce yourself to the thankless role of Sandler’s boring wife?
This is one of the laziest, if not the laziest, films I’ve ever seen, looking as if it were being made up while they were shooting it, and every idea somebody came up with sucked. The absolute nadir is saved for the end, when Pacino shoots a Dunkin Donuts commercial during which he raps about Dunkaccino while tossing off lame reworkings of his most famous movie lines. In what deserves to be read as meta-commentary, his post-screening order to burn the footage of the commercial could just as well apply to the movie itself. Someone should heed his request.