Jack and Jill Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Jack and Jill

Reviewed by Damien Straker on December 4th, 2011
Sony
presents a film directed by Dennis Dugan
Screenplay by Steve Koren, Adam Sandler and Ben Zook
Starring:
Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes
Running Time:
91 mins
Rating: PG
Released:  December 1st, 2011


1/10

 

 

Jack (Adam Sandler) is an advertising executive under a strict deadline to try and bring actor Al Pacino in to star his commercial for Dunkin Donuts. Jack is a family man, married to his wife (Katie Holmes), with their two kids. Yet Jack is reluctant to welcome his sister Jill (also played by Sandler), who is visiting for Thanksgiving, into his house. She is loud, rude and awkwardly behaved but also lonely. Jack has the bright idea of trying to find her a man to keep her busy. At a basketball game Jack and Jill bump into Pacino himself and the man is immediately infatuated with Jack's sister. Jack tries to capitalised on this situation by encouraging her to call Pacino but she isn't particularly taken with him.


Early on in this unfunny comedy Sandler's character calls someone out for being borderline anti-Semitic. He tells the man that only he can do it because he is Jewish. Is this self-assurance? Sandler was born of Jewish parents in Brooklyn and that alone asks us whether it's acceptable for the likes Sandler to take aim at his own people, rather than someone else's ethnicity. It's meant to be self-parody rather than prejudice so it must be inoffensive right? The answer to me is no but neither Sandler nor his long-term director Dennis Dugan care. They've made no less than seven films together, which means he thinks Sandler is funny and bankable but not necessarily in that order. These people should not be making films. They have only the most threadbare knowledge of filmmaking and even less regard for storytelling itself. They hurriedly clump threads and skits together simply to cater to an audience that I will never understand: one unconcerned by characterisation, representation, reality or purpose. The only intention this film has is to judge characters solely on appearance rather than action. Jill is from Brooklyn and has a voice so grating that she makes Fran Drescher sound soothing. I had to put my fingers in my ears the first time I heard it. Sandler recycles a lot of the same clichés Drescher embraced in her show The Nanny years ago: the big hair, the excessive luggage, the voice. But this film is straight up mean-spirited. Jill is apparently so dumb that she can't even use a computer. She has no friends or social skills. By choosing to play her himself Sandler immediately deprives her of being a normal person. She becomes literally a joke, without any semblance of charm or humanity. He intends for us to dislike her but for what reason? I think it says a lot about people's expectations of cinema knowing there was so much laughing and clapping during the screening.


Not only is the film cruel but it offers little more than a checklist of the lowest brand of comedy. Prepare for fart jokes, fat jokes, vision of ear wax, perspiration and armpit hair. People twenty and over find this appealing? It's dumb, obvious and not funny. I barely laughed once and the belated attempts at sentimental family values are condescending and hypocritical. I took most offense to the scene involving a Mexican soccer game. A Mexican character, a gardener of course, frequently makes jokes about stealing and sneaking into places but assures us he's joking. He introduces his kids who all have the same name and during a soccer match we keep cutting to his grandmother with one tooth, who keeps glaring at people. Pathetic. That's before the other Mexicans stuff huge chillies into their mouths. Also pathetic. I find it sad that in the space of a year we've had no less than two films associate Mexican food with diarrhoea. A lot will be made by how obnoxious Sandler is as Jill and quite rightly too. There's not a positive note in his performance. Yet this will overshadow how dull and bored he looks as Jack. A few years ago, P.T. Anderson took Sandler out of his comfort zone, giving him a performance so haunting that few could really believe that it was Happy Gilmore himself. Financially, Punch Drunk Love (2002) tanked badly and Sandler has never returned to anything as daring. He doesn't even look like he's trying here. I don't know why Katie Holmes agreed to this movie beyond a paycheck because she has nothing to do. And are things that dire for Pacino? He's depressing and his final scene involving a commercial is frankly an embarrassment. Though somehow the old dog draws a faint smile when he says: "Burn this". Self-parody? Self-assurance? Great awareness.






 
 



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