Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) is a successful Los Angeles advertising executive, who’s trying to get Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino (Himself) to do a surefire hit commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts to promote their new drink, the Dunkaccino.
I just died inside.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Jack prepares for the visit of his identical twin sister Jill (Adam Sandler), who never left the working-class neighborhood they grew up in, an annual event he always dreads given how clingy and attention-seeking she is.
All hail Happy Madison, the kings of poop, pee-pee, dick and booby – uh – jokes? No, that’s not the right word. References? No, too professional sounding… Damn, I’m at a lost for words.
There are many stars, proven talented stars, that would kill for a chance to co-star in a film with either Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino. No need for both acting legends, just one would be career fulfilling.
Adam Sandler has co-starred with both.
Jack and Jill opens and closes with footage of real-life identical twins, all of whom were probably coerced at gunpoint to participate in this low-brow, “high” concept “comedy”. It’s the tried-and-true Happy Madison formula of a relentless string of poop and titty jo – uh – yeah those, that’s then capped off with them shoving a feel good message of “Family’s important!!!!” so far down our throats we choke to death. It’s telling that each of the identical twins interviewed are same-sex twins (why the hetero twins had to be discriminated against is beyond me). Actually, that’s not so much telling as it is just fact. Yet the title identical twins here are opposite-sex. Of course, it’s not like you expect the Happy Madison gang to do any research beyond the number of ways they can talk about poops, farts and boobs.
Then again, like the extremely rare .001% chance it does occur, Jack and Jill is the film equivalent of a genetic abnormality.
When Nick Swardson comes off the most unscathed out of everyone here (even over a certain Oscar winner), that’s a red flag.
Correction – the most unscathed here would be Katie Holmes, who thankfully, for her sake, doesn’t get any of the film’s failed jokes and has such a non-purpose here the filmmakers could’ve swapped her out with a cardboard cutout and no one would tell the difference.
Jack and Jill suffers from two major problems, three if you count the fact that it isn’t funny at all; in fact, it’s more depressing than Angela’s Ashes. First off, this film has no idea who its target audience should be. It’s rated PG, and marketed like a fun, happy-go-lucky, crazy shenanigans family comedy, but it’s filled with frat boy style humor (which kicks things off with a bang by having Regis Philbin talk about his diarrhea troubles), as well as celebrity and prior Happy Madison film references only older audiences will get. Secondly, and this is the big one, Jill is one of the most gratingly obnoxious characters you’ll see in film; it’s not just the voice, it’s the personality, the attitude, everything. And yet Sandler has the balls to remind us we somehow have to feel sorry for her by making Jack an even bigger dickhole than she is a whiny glutton for attention.
Nope, if anything, it unfortunately creates empathy for Cain’s slaying of his brother Abel. I know, they weren’t twins, Jacob and Esau were… That’s hardly the point, though. You’re hoping for Jack to smother Jill to death with a pillow, and then him to come tumbling after when he’s driven to suicide. That’s the point.
It’s that annoying, and yet it’s marketed for families. You know, ’cause family’s important and the best way to get that lovely theme across is with a barrage of dick and poop jokes.
The gimmick of Sandler playing twins isn’t inherently a bad idea, and I’m really being generous with that statement. Nicolas Cage played twin brothers in Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation and it’s one of his best performances, one that earned him a Best Actor nomination. Yet this is far from Adam Sandler in career performance mode. This is Adam Sandler playing Adam Sandler doing another bull shit annoying “Screechy-scratchy-slappy-skrimpa-shloppy-doo!!!!” Adam Sandler voice… twice. And though in the hands of a capable director this may have been decent – man, what’s with my charitable mood today? This may have been somewhat less of the apocalypse-summoning disaster that it winds up being. However, in capable hands, this is not when it’s in the hands of director Dennis mother $%^&!@# &*@# sucking Dugan, who’s to comedy what terminal cancer is to living.
Here’s what I learned from this film. Actually, I learned nothing from this film other than that identical twins apparently have a secret language with each other that can best be described as drunk speak. As much as alcoholism runs rampant in my family, I’m shocked that I didn’t understand any of it. Unrelated to the film, though, I learned that Sandler has now become a cardboard comedy caricature. No one here, especially him, gives a shit, and the range he’s shown over the past fifteen years in Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Funny People and Men, Women and Children just makes his phoned-in cha-ching, “I don’t give a fuck!” attitude all the more frustratingly maddening to deal with.
I also learned that Al Pacino – yes, no typo – Al Pacino… playing Al Pacino must’ve declared bankruptcy, gotten some blackmail dick pic threats or been the threat of the Hollywood blackball treatment somewhere in between the years 2010-2012.
Or, at least what I’m hoping, Sandler and Friends went guerilla filmmaking style on him. The only thing one can be certain of is when Pacino turns to Jack and mutters, “… Burn it… every copy.”, it’s a heartbreaking cry for help.
Jack and Jill follows the same lowest common denominator style of humor that past Happy Madison films have (im)perfected. What qualifies as jokes here are the same old random cutaways we see ’em do where it’s some lazy-ass gag like a cockatoo bathing in chocolate, Allen Covert as a homeless guy (the same homeless guy from Happy Gilmore, not that the PG-rated audience they’re aiming for will get the reference) trying to eat that bird, and bizarre repeated bits like Jack’s adoptive son taping animals to his body or Eugenio Derbez rattling off Mexican stereotypes just to follow it up with, “I’m keeeeding.”
I guess that’s how racial humor works now. Why not have a black guy show up and go, “Yo, Jill, you wanna watch my eighteen kids each from an individual baby mama while I go refill my food stamps and then use this wad of cash I got from selling crack to go buy some malt liquor, Newports and some scratch-offs… Sheeee-it, I’m just fucking wit you, bitch.”
Let’s see… In my best Lewis Black voice… “HOW THE FUCK IS THAT FUNNY?!!!”
Not a scintilla of effort is applied to making any genuinely funny jokes, but of course, I’d be a fool to expect that from a director like Dugan who has the directing touch of a massive fatality causing fifty car pileup and the timing of Navin R. Johnson.
Extra credit to those who get that last reference.
Fact is, Happy Madison doesn’t make movies. Well, to be fair, their earlier films like The Wedding Singer and Anger Management were decent. This, however, is just another reason for Sandler to keep all his buddies out of the soup kitchen.
You’d think, judging from the number of crappy movies Sandler’s done throughout his career, that it would take the power of God for Jack and Jill to compete for the “top” spot as his worst. Yet between the nails on a chalkboard irritating characters, laziest of all lazy jokes, and a performance from Pacino so puzzlingly committed you’d swear he was tricked into thinking this was The Godfather Part IV, this film cakewalks its way down, down, down, down, to the lowest point of Sandler’s career.