A film review by Craig J. Koban December 7, 2011
JACK AND JILL
2011, PG-13, 91 mins.
2011, PG-13, 91 mins.
Adam Sandler: Jack and Jill / Katie Holmes: Erin / Nick Swardson: Todd / Al Pacino: Himself
Directed by Dennis Dugan / Written by Ben Zook, Robert Smigel, and Steve Koren
I would have thought it
would have been impossible that Adam Sandler would make another film more putrid
GO WITH IT, released earlier
this year. Well,
congratulations, Mr. Sandler, because you have – once again – made the
positively worst film of your career and the single worst excuse to enter
a cinema in 2011 with JACK AND JILL.
This is a truly
awful, awful, awful, awful…awful-awful-awful film.
Did I say it was awful? I
wrote in my review of JUST GO WITH IT that Sandler does not seem
interested in making comedies, per se, because I don’t think he
understands how limitlessly unfunny they are.
He seems more compelled to – especially with JACK AND JILL – to
just pathetically and lazily perpetuate the “Sandler Brand”, which involves
striving for the absolute lowest form of comedy
possible to appease his “fans”.
the checklist of horrible and audience offending elements that constitute
the Sandler Brand, which figure heavily in JACK AND JILL: An annoying and
dislikeable main character played smugly by Sandler…check.
Heavy dosages of bathroom humor involving, but not limited to,
farting, pooping, peeing, and explosive diarrhea caused by massive
gags at the expense of the elderly, the homeless, and ethnic
appearance by the egregiously unfunny Nick Swardson…check.
A slew of embarrassing, paycheck grabbing celebrity cameos
including former SNL alumni, John McEnroe, Jared from Subway, and – WTF!
– Johnny Depp…check. Beyond-obvious
and gratuitous product placement, like Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Pepto
Bismal, and probably the most in-your-face placement in movie history, The
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise line…check.
The film’s story involves
one of the oldest – and increasingly with time, the stalest – of all
comedic film staples: men in drag playing or impersonating women.
To be very fair, I have liked films that have involved it, and some of the funniest
films of all-time display it prominently (SOME LIKE IT HOT and TOOTSIE
come to mind). However,
once demonstrates in JACK AND KILL that he’s a student of such films,
nor does he evoke even a modest understanding of what made those films
laugh riots. The real problem, I guess, with JACK AND JILL is that it’s
never, ever…ever-ever-ever believable that the woman Sandler plays is
actually a woman. For the
most part, she just annoyingly comes off as a Sandler-in-drag cartoon
character that rarely feels like a flesh and blood human.
In short, it’s just an opportunity for Sandler to heavily fall
back on his fingernails-on-a-chalkboard shtick.
Sandler plays a male, though,
in the film, Jack, who is a successful TV commercial director, so
successful that he lives in a mansion that, by all physical accounts, even
Steven Spielberg couldn't
afford (had no idea this gig paid so well).
Like all other Sandler film characters, he is impossibly paired
with a gorgeous trophy wife (this time preposterously played by Katie
Holmes, who is too good of an actress to play the inept and one
dimensional supporting wife role). Jack also has two kids, with one being an Indian that has a
habit of Scotch taping things to his bare body, like doorknobs, golf clubs, and
live animals. In this
film’s perverse universe, the parents see this as perfectly acceptable
Thanksgiving is approaching
and Jack’s twin sister, Jill, is about to show up for what Jack hopes to
be a brief holiday visit, but his sis’ from the Bronx decides that she
wants to stay longer…much longer…much to Jack’s dismay.
Predictably, everyone but Jack enjoys Jill’s company, which shows
that every human being in this film - except for Jack - are blind idiots.
Jill is so obnoxious, so repellent, so shrill voiced, so
obsessively needy, so pushy, so verbally insulting, and so wholeheartedly
unattractive as a physical and emotional human being that it’s
astounding that anyone in this film likes her.
Well, one person does:
During a night out at a Laker game Jill extraordinarily manages to
attract Al Pacino. Yes.
No bull shit. That Al Pacino.
Serpico himself. The dude from HEAT. That Pacino.
he’s not ripping into audience members for talking on their mobile
phones during live productions of RICHARD III, he disguises himself at
Laker games as a normal attendee and then becomes instantly smitten with Jill. For some reason, she acts as a muse, of sorts, to propel him
find his inner resolve to tackle a Broadway production of Don Quixote.
Jack, at the same time, desperately wants Pacino to star in a
Dunkin’ Donuts commercial (the film's umpteenth product placement), but Scarface himself will only do it if he
can score with his sister.
You know that an Oscar winning film
actor like Pacino has hit absolute career rock bottom when he has
to play opposite of Adam Sandler in drag for the purposes of puerile
laughs. There have been
instances where actors have played broad and satirical versions of
themselves for the purposes of mocking their own image (see Neil Patrick
Harris in the HAROLD & KUMAR films), but it’s so distressingly sad
to see an actor of Pacino’s stature ludicrously debase himself as he
does here. Since you never
in Jill as a character and never believe that anyone would like her
for more than a minute and never would believe that a man of
Pacino’s pedigree would fall for this abhorrent female, then your buy-in to
the underlining material is null and void.
His courting scenes with Jill are among the worst I have ever seen in
any film. If Pacino were not
such a long-standing cinematic icon, then I would be forced to describe
his participation in JACK AND JILL as a career-killing desperate act of a
Perhaps even more offensively
befuddling than Pacino’s involvement here – which just must have
involved a paycheck with
a lotta zeroes in it – is how JACK AND
JILL goes out of its way to inundate us with squirm-inducingly foul and
crude bodily function humor and mean-spirited pratfalls directed at easy
ethnic targets and then tries to set us up for a feel-good and would-be
sentimental ending where everyone comes to understand, accept, and love
Jill. I was watching JACK AND
JILL with my teeth clenched and my hand tediously scratching my head out
of irritation and anxiety with every moment Pacino occupied, but the way
it manipulatively tries to make me care in the end is the film’s most
Speaking of nauseating? JACK AND JILL cost $80 million to produce. That’s eight with a zero after it followed by the word "million". Where in Judas-rockin’-Priest did the money go? It’s not on screen. It’s not in the screenplay. What completely irresponsible party gave the green light for such an exasperatingly expensive screen comedy? I’m serious. I want names. People need to be held accountable for trash like JACK AND JILL. Oddly enough, Al Pacino’s final words in the film - in reference to the Dunkin’ Donuts commercial he stars in - are among the most telling when considering the relative worth of JACK AND JILL: “Burn it. People should never ever be forced to see this.”
The Godfather has never spoken
wiser words in a film. Like...never.