Adam Sandler has become a machine that produces what seems like an endless number of garbage comedies. Whether he’s the lead actor, writer, or producer, his movies feel like retreads that hit many of the same notes and feature the same sloppy filmmaking. In “Jack and Jill” his one attempt at originality has him playing dual roles as brother and sister. Then again it’s hard to call it original when everyone from Tyler Perry to Jean-Claude Van Damme have done it. But here Sandler manages to create one of the most obnoxious and unfunny characters to go with this obnoxious and unfunny film.
Sandler plays Jack, a Los Angeles advertising executive who has made a good life for himself. He’s married to Erin (Katie Holmes) and has two eccentric children. Each year at Thanksgiving his compulsive, neurotic twin sister Jill (also played by Sandler) comes to visit from New York. Jill drives Jack (and the audience) crazy with her quirkiness and bizarre behavior even though his wife and kids are crazy about her. Al Pacino plays himself in what could be defined as the low point of his career. He’s completely unhinged and over-the-top as evident by his infatuation with Jill. There’s also a host of cameos ranging from Regis Philbin to Shaquille O’Neal. None of them add much to the movie with the exception of Johnny Depp who provides a couple of the film’s few laughs.
“Jack and Jill” bombards us with overused sight gags, pathetically lame dialogue, and tons of boring comedic clichés. Apparently farts, diarrhea, and armpits are still funny in Sandler’s world and he’s so kind to give us so many of them. But in many ways he has to rely on that nonsense since there is nothing redeeming about the script. It’s pure laziness and there isn’t enough here to even make for a satisfying SNL skit much less a full length movie. There’s also a shamelessly large amount of product placements in this film that did more to make this movie feel like one big cash grab by everyone involved.
Then there’s Jill, a character that is so cartoonish it’s impossible to find a real human quality in her. She’s so outlandish that once the movie tries for sympathy and sentiment it feels like a complete fabrication. And I never saw Jill as anything more than Adam Sandler in drag. She’s certainly not interesting or convincing and she has absolutely no charm whatsoever. She’s like fingernails on a chalkboard and I found myself just wishing she would shut up. And since the biggest joke of the movie is Sandler dressed as a woman, it’s complete and utter ineffectiveness is the ultimate death knell.
I can only remember two scenes that got any kind of laugh out of me. Everything else in “Jack and Jill” is mind-numbingly bad. This is one of those movies that should have been an automatic bomb at the theaters but somehow made almost $150 million. Is this what we’ve grown to call comedy? I understand that comedy and humor is subjective. But how can such poor conception and shoddy filmmaking get a pass? And what on earth is Al Pacino doing here? Does he need money this bad? Early in his career, Adam Sandler made some pretty funny films. But now he’s a one-trick pony who seems more interested in dollar signs than the quality of the movie. Even worse, “Jack and Jill” may be the worst movie on his resume and that’s saying a lot.