‘Jack and Jill’: Just How Bad Is It?
Bruce Fretts: Just in time for Thanksgiving, Adam Sandler delivered another turkey—Jack and Jill, in which he plays both titular roles as an ad exec and his incredibly annoying sister. The question is, Bret: Is this cross-dressing comedy a total drag?
Bret Watson: For once, twins did not double my pleasure or my fun. It made me double over, in agony.
Bruce: The funniest thing I saw all day was the expression on your face after the movie. You looked like you’d smelled one of the many farts cut in the film.
Bret: If anyone is still pondering whether to see this movie, consider this scene as your litmus test: Jill comes back from an evening of Mexican food and makes a “run for the border”—yes, she uses that ancient line—and while she loudly craps away behind a bathroom door, Jack stands outside trying to have a conversation with her. When Jill emerges, Jack has to back away and stand by windows. Now, does that sound cheek-splittingly funny to you? Then you’ll enjoy the movie. Just remember to ask your mom for money to buy a ticket.
Bruce: The nursery rhyme had a better plot than this script. At least it had a beginning, middle and end. After some pointless and unenlightening documentary footage of twins talking about themselves, the movie sets up its lame premise. Then it goes nowhere… very slowly.
Bret: I don’t think that was documentary footage, I think it was staged. Speaking of the premise: Jack’s unloved and unlovely sister Jill comes for the holidays and won’t leave. He decides he has to set her up with a guy to make her feel better about herself. Meanwhile he’s trying to get Al Pacino to do a Dunkin Donuts commercial as “Al Dunkacino,” and instead Pacino, played with panache by Al Pacino, falls for Jill. This all leads to inevitable tender moments, when the music goes mushy, and the twins have to realize they love each other. Why do so many comedies nowadays feel that they have to go for mushy moments? It’s like Irving Thalberg insisting that what the Marx Brothers really needed was Kitty Carlisle singing opera.
Bruce: I still can’t figure out how Sandler convinced Pacino to do this flick. At the end of the film, Pacino watches himself rap in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial and insists that the footage be burned. I only hope he had the same reaction when he saw Jack and Jill. I know I did.
Bret: When a comedian does a movie in which he dresses up in drag, that’s the sign that he’s on the downhill side of his career. So please stop me if I ever suggest we do a Two Cranky Guys post in drag.
Bruce: I thought you did all our posts in drag. In any case, Sandler makes an even less convincing broad than you do. At one point, you turned to me during the movie and said his Jill voice sounded like Gilbert Gottfied. I don’t know about that—I think even GIlbert would’ve said, “EEET’S A LITTLE OVER THE TOP!”
Bret: I did enjoy watching Pacino, but maybe it was more in mystified fascination. Sandler seems to be Hollywood’s giant black hole, sucking in every neighboring star. This movie’s swirling, sucking eddy of despair traps not just Pacino but also Johnny Depp, Norm Macdonald…who else am I forgetting?
Bruce: The movie’s like a convention of underemployed SNL alums—in addition to Macdonald, there’s Tim Meadows, Rob Schneider, Dana Carvey (barely recognizable in one scene as a puppeteer) and David Spade, in drag. It made me flash back to those horrible Gap Girls sketches Spade and Sandler used to do on SNL. And they haven’t become better-looking women with age.
Bret: I’ve run out of stuff to say. This movie killed most of my brain cells. Even the popcorn was stale. What do you have left to say? Let ‘er rip, like Jill on the toilet.
Bruce: I think we should have a moment of silence for Katie Holmes’ career. When you’re reduced to a thankless role like playing Sandler’s bland wife, you’re up a creek—and I’m not talking about Dawson’s. Then again, Jack and Jill did get her out of the house and away from Tom Cruise, so that’s something.
Bret: How did the movie do at the box office?
Bruce: It opened in second place, behind Immortals, with $26 million—not bad, but not up to Sandler’s usual $30 million-plus standard. Still, when you only get 3% positive reviews on RottenTomatoes.com and can still clear $25 mil, that’s fairly impressive. Did all those people really think it was going to be good, or were they just going to see how bad it could possibly be, like we did?
Bret: Maybe the fart jokes were Sandler’s subversive message to the audience: Look at the cinematic turd I can get you to pay for.
Bruce: Amazingly, it wasn’t even Sandler’s worst movie of 2011. We didn’t walk out of this one, like we did during Just Go With It. And Sandler also cowrote Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (with Nick Swardson, who’s awful in Jack and Jill, too), which may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen. That’s quite an accomplishment for one year. Maybe it’s time for Sandler to retire. He’ll never top that. Or bottom it.
Bret: Well, you gotta hand it to him—whatever he’s doing, it’s working. He’s laughing all the way to his solid gold toilet.
Did you subject yourself to Jack and Jill? And if so, why? Post a comment, and Two Cranky Guys will fire back!