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Jack and Jill
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Like "Dead Ringers" Sans The Whimsy"
1 stars

"Jack and Jill," the latest product from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company that features him playing both an ordinary family man and his ultra-obnoxious twin sister, is currently rocking a whopping 4% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, only a mere 87 percentage points behind "The Descendants," and has accumulate a collection of reviews that, save for the rave from the generally contrarian Armond White, so punishingly negative that they have achieved the seemingly impossible task of making "Just Go with It," his indescribably awful remake of "Cactus Flower" with Jennifer Aniston, into his artistic high point of 2011 by default. Of course, it could be argued that, with the occasional exception such as "Punch Drunk Love" or "Spanglish" (both of which found him demonstrating legitimate acting chops), he makes films for the masses and not for critics but even his loyal fans appear to have forsaken him this time around--the trailer has been a running joke ever since it first appeared and its disappointing opening weekend saw it getting thoroughly beaten by the goofball fantasy epic "Immortals" and barely eking out a second-place finish over the third weekend of "Puss in Boots." Frankly, few films of any kind, let alone comedies, have received a reception as punishing as the one "Jack and Jill" has received and, ironically, one of the few that did even more badly was yet another Happy Madison effort, the hopefully mortal "Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star."

Having come a little late to this particular party--I missed the press screening due in equal parts to time constraints and sheer laziness--I fear I don't really have much more to offer on the subject that has already been expressed at length by my colleagues. The premise--normal guy Jack is annoyed by obnoxious twin sister Jill while his bemuse wife (Katie Holmes) looks on and wildman actor Al Pacino (Al Pacino. . .yes, Al Pacino or rather "Al Pacino. . .noooooooo!") develops a mad crush on Jill that Jack tries to exploit in order to get the actor to commit to do a Dunkin Donuts commercial--is so half-assed that it sounds like one of the deliberately hacky joke premises for the films that the Adam Sandler character made zillions on in "Funny People," the character of Jill is one of the most deeply annoying and unlikable to ever appear in a feature film and the whole enterprise, redolent with pointless cameo appearances and enough product placements to make a James Bond movie look positively spartan by comparison, is so smug and complacent, without the compensation of being funny, that it feels as if Sandler must have pitched it as a contemptuous joke and then found himself stuck doing it after the studio pinheads approved it. The end result is a film that is just as bad as one could possibly imagine--an item so grisly that the normally loathsome presence of longtime Sandler hanger-on Nick Swardson is actually one of its less objectionable features--but what could I possibly add in the way of critique that hasn't already been expressed by 96% of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Instead, in the spirit of benevolence and whatnot, I will instead mention the elements on display that amused me to one degree or another. Sure, there may be spoilers here but let us be frank--if you are worried about spoilers in a film like "Jack and Jill," you have bigger psychological fish to fry.

1. "Jack and Jill" is filled with celebrity cameos--some from people playing themselves (Regis Philbin, Shaq, Bruce Jenner) and some playing characters (Dana Carvey, Norm MacDonald)--and for the most part, they aren't particularly amusing. The one that actually does inspire laughs comes from Johnny Depp, who appears courtside with Pacino at a Lakers game clad in a Justin Bieber T-shirt and agreeing with Jill's assertion that yes, he used to be a member of Duran Duran. The whole thing is dumb, of course, but Depp is possessed with such a patina of effortless, Sinatra-like cool that he makes it work.

2The other cameo bit that works is the one from the aforementioned McDonald, who pops up briefly as a creepy blind date that Jill finds on the internet. Again, none of the material that he is working with is especially amusing but there is something about his habitual refusal to even pretend to go through the rudimentary moves that one normally associates with the concept of acting that I find strangely delightful and endearing. This isn't to say that I would want to watch him doing that for 90 minutes, as anyone who saw "Dirty Work" can attest," but the sight of him acting even lazier than the surrounding movie is certainly something to watch.

3.The sight of Al Pacino appearing in an Adam Sandler crapfest--playing himself, no less--is seriously bizarre and while his deliberate self-parody here is no more objectionable than the way he has trashed his reputation on such serious-minded junk as "88 Minutes" or "Righteous Kill," it isn't quite amusing enough to make it work. There is, however, one priceless moment in which a bit of horseplay leads to Jill destroying his Academy Award--she apologizes and remarks that he must have many more of them and he replies "You'd think so, but no." Okay, I thought it was funny at least.

4. Although Katie Holmes goes through the movie looking positively stricken at the uselessness of the material she is working with--there are times when I half-expected to see her trying to chew through her ankle in a desperate attempt to escape the scene--I did find myself smiling at the notion that Tom Cruise presumably had to sit through it at some point and at least feign enjoyment in an effort to keep peace at home. Be honest, if you were sitting around back in 2001 and had to guess which starlet from "Dawson's Creek" would now be considered a lock for her third Academy Award nomination and which one would be playing the smiling wife in a lesser Adam Sandler vehicle, which one would you have picked?

5.It's better than "Bucky Larson". . .just barely, but it is.

However, the best thing about "Jack and Jill"--the thing about it that should have film fans from coast to coast cheering with excitement and glee? Easy--the fact that its release means that we no longer have to fear sitting through that goddamn trailer whenever we go to the movies. It may not sound like much but believe me, it is something that I will treasure forever.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21438&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/16/11 16:38:57
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User Comments

2/28/19 Leonard Maltin A movie for the ages, worthy of Kubrick, Hitchcock and Scorsese. 10 out of 10! 1 stars
1/05/15 Mario is the Best Seriously, who liked this garbage. One of the worst movies ever made. 1 stars
5/19/13 Quigley Without question among the top five worst films of all time. 1 stars
4/05/12 Katie Holmes Adam Sandler's leading ladies should be played by cartoon hags. 1 stars
11/18/11 Jenny Tullwartz Couldn't get past the fate of the poor duped adjuster of presumed fake boobs. 2 stars
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  11-Nov-2011 (PG)
  DVD: 06-Mar-2012


  DVD: 06-Mar-2012

Directed by
  Dennis Dugan

Written by
  Steve Koren
  Robert Smigel
  Ben Zook

  Adam Sandler
  Katie Holmes
  Al Pacino
  Allen Covert
  Dana Carvey
  Tim Meadows

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