Screw this movie. “Jack and Jill” is one of the most aggressively excruciating experiences I have had with a comedy since the last Happy Madison production, “Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star.” Before I go on, no, I am not one of those critics who despises every Adam Sandler project that comes along; I’ve liked at least a few of his comedies, and he proved to me he can genuinely act in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch Drunk Love.” But in an acting career that has spawned such dismal abominations as “Little Nicky,” “The Waterboy,” “Mr. Deeds,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Just Go With It,” and his former most dishonorable effort, “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan,” I think this one might be the worst. Scratch that, I don’t think. I KNOW it is his worst.
Ripping a page right outta the “Eddie Murphy Path To Success Book” (not before having the three screenwriters use that page as toilet paper), Sandler does a little “dress-up” and plays two different genders with the identical twin characters Jack and Jill. Jack Sadelstein is a typical family man. He is married to Katie Holmes and cares very much for his two children, one of which has a compulsive obsession with taping things to his body. Ehh, funny? Jill Sadelstein, however, is a rude, obnoxious, insensitive loudmouth who has become quite needy since their mother passed away. I bet when the mother was alive, the Osbournes would have looked at them and gone, “Is that the way the world sees us?”
The siblings are brought back together for Thanksgiving dinner one year, but the weekend reunion turns into an extended vacation for Jill, who has no real companion to go home to. Why does she end up lodging with Jack’s family all the way into the new year? Well, for no other reason than to embroil them into one laugh-free misadventure after another, drive Jack further up the walls, and truly put my fortitude against awful movies to the test. Of all the allegedly funny junk they throw at the audience, you would expect at least one of them to land near the dartboard somewhere.
Unlike other Sandler pictures, this one has just a PG rating. This means that the entire family will be all the more inclined to go check it out, especially with the holiday season coming up. Alas, this is a film just as juvenile and repugnant as any of his other efforts, only nobody throws out an f-bomb to push it into PG-13 territory. But I guess it is still acceptable for Jewish stereotyping, the loudest diarrhea scene in history, having a character call two women ‘hookers’ for no reason whatsoever, mean-spirited pratfalls, and vulgar jokes about gender confusion (among many other things) to make the final cut. As long as the salty language is kept at a minimum, right? Y’know, for kids. Family friendly
Aside from being offensively banal and insipid, the script commits a terrible crime by flip-flopping with the audience about the Jill character. Most of the time, she is being humiliated and viewers are expected to laugh and point their fingers at her for being such an ungainly human being. She is mocked by the filmmakers for being fat (she really isn’t that big), for saying the wrong things at the wrong time, for her grating voice, for the nasty sweat stain she leaves on the mattress, for being single, and for screwing up a blind date just from being herself. And then out of nowhere, the film wants us to SYMPATHIZE with her for being such an ungainly human being. Nothing about this sudden need for sentiment seems sincere, and all of it is as phony as Adam Sandler masquerading as a woman.
Tracing back to “Happy Gilmore,” Sandler’s movies have had a lot of product placement, but Happy’s ringing Subway sandwich endorsements cannot even approach the obscene amount of blatant advertising that goes on in this film. First, let me start by saying Jack is one of the head honchos in charge of a television ad department, and one of the subplots involves his tireless pursuit of hiring Al Pacino (yes, THE Al Pacino) to appear in a commercial promoting the new Dunkin Donuts item, the Dunkachino. The only way he may have a shot at nabbing the star of “Scarface” is by luring him in with Jill, who he is inexplicably attracted to.
If there was ever something I wish I could somehow “unwatch” in a movie…well, number one would be David Spade’s cameo as a buxom, cleavage-bearing woman toward the end (with David Spade’s regular voice for added creepiness), number two would be Regis Philbin delivering such stupid lines for a fake Pepto Bismol commercial, but then…number three would be Al Pacino, a great actor who has been in great movies, reducing himself to rapping and dancing about a cup of coffee. If I were to push my face any further into my palm, I might dislocate my nose.
Sandler is just becoming predictable these days. Anybody remember the Judd Apatow movie “Funny People?” Remember how he was cast as a washed-up comedian who destroyed his career by starring in so many crappy kids movies with such dopey premises that even the most non-discerning kids would be declaring it brainless tripe? That tragically accurate role seems more like a prophecy these days considering Sandler’s recent track record. How many times can he possibly get all of his buddies together, take them on some sort of luxurious trip, make a fool out of everyone involved, and rob people of their ten bucks passing this crap off as valid entertainment? When will people wise up?
At one point, Jill states the phrase, “It’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.” I did not need to see “Jack and Jill.” The world does not need to see “Jack and Jill.” But at the cost of lowering standards for what can be considered comedy and lowering the intellect of the general moviegoing public, it is also a film I firmly believe the world should not HAVE.