November 13, 2011
Review - " Jack and Jill " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Jack and Jill
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino,
Elodie Tougne, Rohan Chand
In Judd Apatow's “Funny People,” Adam Sandler played a middle-age
comedian whose career was built on a series of popular but absurdly
The movies are trotted out in faux trailers: “Redux,” in which he plays a
6-month-old baby; “My Best Friend Is a Robot,” with Owen Wilson as
the robot; and, most memorably, “Mer-man,” where Sandler plays a
If you slid “Jack and Jill” into that lineup, no one would even blink. The
film, in which Sandler plays both sides of male-female identical twins,
feels like a joke trailer stretched into a feature film.
That isn't necessarily contrary to the aims of “Jack and Jill,” a gleefully
stupid movie much more in line with Sandler's earlier comedies than his
later, more adventurous movies.
It's directed by Sandler's longtime filmmaking partner Dennis Dugan,
who directed one of those early Sandler movies (“Happy Gilmore”) as
well as more recent failures such as last year's “Grown Ups” and the
much more interesting and funny “You Don't Mess With the Zohan.”
In “Jack and Jill,” Sandler plays Jack Sadelstein, a TV commercial
producer, married to Erin (Katie Holmes) with two children (Rohan
Chand, Elodie Tougne). Thanksgiving brings an unwelcome visit from
his twin sister Jill (Sandler).
Sandler plays Jill as he might have for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, and Jill is less a real character than a walking punch
line. She has a thick Bronx accent, a masculine physique and is completely out of touch. Sandler plays her more like an
older Jewish mother than a 43-year-old.
Jack is aggressively mean to his sister, whose visit, much to his chagrin, keeps being extended. Jill proves useful, though,
because she's surprisingly fetching to a handful of men, most notably Al Pacino. That's convenient for Jack, whose trying to
get Pacino to act in a Dunkin' Donuts ad.
Pacino, who plays himself in a surprisingly large part, is, one fears, going the Robert De Niro route here, using his esteemed
reputation to parody himself. With ga-ga eyes, he chases relentlessly after Jill, who is largely unimpressed.
It must be said: Pacino is good in the film and gets most of the laughs. His total commitment to character applies even in a
movie such as this, where he's lovesick for a Sandler in drag. Comedy has always been part of Pacino's range. Still, when
Pacino finally cuts the hip-hop-style commercial and afterward tells Jack, “Burn this,” I'm inclined to agree.
For fans of Sandler's sillier movies, “Jack and Jill” will likely provide something satisfyingly adolescent and cartoonish. There
are all the kinds of things you'd expect: fart jokes, poor filmmaking (a scene at a Lakers game, obviously shot on a green
screen, is unusually shoddy); and cameos from the usual crowd (David Spade, Tim Meadows, Norm MacDonald) and a few
less predictable ones
(Johnny Depp, John McEnroe,
Regis Philbin, Shaquille
Many a reviewer (and general
movie goer) hated Jack and
Jill and tore it to shreds - to
paraphrase Cher Horowitz
"Going to an Adam Sanlder
film and expecting great art
is like trying to find meaning in
a Pauly Shore movie." It is
what it is. Jack and Jill is a silly
comedy but it doesn't pretend
to be anything more than that.
Insomuch as this is what it's
supposed to be, it succeeds,
it's funny, annoying, and